Continuation for the Lions

Simon Wooldridge | Bendigo Weekly | 27-Sep-2017

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Shann Lions said he like his band to try things a bit different. 

He’s just back from two weeks in Bali; fresh, energised and keen to talk about Four Lions’ new album, Golden Triangle, which will be launched at True Brew on Saturday, October 7.

Golden Triangle carries on – literally – where the band’s second album, Vahland, left off last year. 

The album opens with a quiet instrumental, almost cinematic, 38 seconds. 

It’s an extension of the ending of Never Giving Up, the last track on Vahland. “Listen to the two albums in order,” Lions said. 

“It’s seamless.”

Golden Triangle continues in the same rich Bendigo and goldfields-themed vein as its predecessors. 

The sound is alt-country, Americana – a clear nod to one of Lions’ favourite performers, Bruce Springsteen.

“A lot of his songs are inspired by the love of where he grew up and lived in New Jersey. I wanted to write about Bendigo and the goldfields with the same depth of feeling,” Lions said.

In the “a bit different” theme, Four Lions has lined-up quite an evening for the album launch.

“We’re building a special stage,” Lions said, “and there’ll be an art installation. Not local art,” he adds, “but it’ll be cool”.

The need for a specially-built stage becomes apparent during our conversation. Four Lions will have a number of guests joining them during their two-hour set.

“Harry Godfrey on sax, Dave Moore on pedal steel, Rowan Blackmore on accordion, and Sherri Parry and Trevor Petrie on backing vocals.” 

Before the old “bigger than Ben Hur” analogy comes up, Lions added, “and Roy Lever from Blackthorn Stick will be MC for the night.”

The “a bit different” thing continues with Four Lions’ own beer, on tap, on the night. 

“I was talking with the guys at True Brew and they came up with something to try and replicate my favourite beer. It’s a kind of golden pale ale,” he said. 

Flight Bar will be catering at the launch with their distinctive southern fried chicken fare.

Four Lions are working men with busy lives. Next Saturday’s album launch is a one-off. 

“We won’t be going on the road with this album,” Lions said. “That’s why we’re putting so much into this night.”

Four of the tracks on Golden Triangle appeared on a low-key, digital-only release last year. 

The others continue the Bendigo themes. 

No Fortune is a gold rush song about wine, Faugh A Ballagh (Clear The Way) was the name of a street near Bendigo’s law courts during the gold rush. 

Soak It Up has Lions reminiscing about occasional miss-spent youth and goon bags in Rosalind Park.  

But it’s Hand of Faith – about the 27 kilogram gold nugget discovered near Wedderburn in 1980 – that is the album’s real surprise; a totally different sound to anything in Four Lions’ growing catalogue.

“I like Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, those kinds of heavy 1990s bands,” Lions said. 

“So I thought we could surprise people a bit”. 

It’s a sound this writer would like to hear more of from them, but Lions isn’t giving too much away about future plans or musical directions.

“We’ll do an EP, or half an album in January at Head Gap in Preston, then we’ll work on the second half later in the year,” he said.

For now though, they’re focused on the multi-tiered launch of album number three.

Four Lions launch Golden Triangle at True Brew, 97 Beischer Street on Saturday, October 7.

Doors at 7pm. Tickets available in advance through Eventbrite at $16, or on the door at $20. Ticket/entry includes a CD copy of the album. 

– Simon Wooldridge

Twitter: @spwooldridge

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