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The Lion And The Wolf - 'The Cardiac Hotel' Album Review

Until last week, I’d never heard of The Lion And The Wolf, aka. Thomas George. How I’ve missed such a soft, ethereal and melancholy rising performer is beyond me as his style and genre are right up my street. I’ll admit it took me a few listens to really get into 'The Cardiac Hotel', as an album to have on in the background it’s perfect, but it’s real magic is only revealed when you sit and listen to it, when you put time aside to get up close and personal with it.

An album that begins to the sound of walking to an organ and sitting down at it immediately tells me this is going to be something personal, something worth really listening to.

I’m told that the theme of this album follows Thomas’ father falling ill, when you listen to the lyrics with that in mind, there’s a lot of raw feeling there. The lyrics don’t spend much time lingering in imagery or analogies, it’s direct, it’s real, you can really get a sense of what Thomas must have been going through at the time, and that counts for a lot when listening to this.

The Lion And The Wolf tells me that the album was recorded with no digital plugins at all, and was mostly recorded live with some elements added in in post-production. In that case, the production is impressive and has a very real feel too it, I just wish it wasn’t so drenched in reverb in places, masking all those lovely imperfections that recording entirely in analogue often let’s shine, but then that’s a personal preference and doesn’t reflect on the quality of the songs at all.

The songs themselves have a very modular feel to them, you could almost take sections of different songs and slot them together in different points of the album and they’d fit seamlessly. One thing I particularly enjoy about this album is that if feels very much like it should be an acoustic album, but it isn’t, with only one track being an acoustic song, the rest being performed with warm, rich electric guitars. Thomas’ voice is soft, his phrasing succinct. He tends not to go too far in either direction in terms of dynamics and I think that really adds to the melancholy aspect; he’s speaking directly to you, revealing, sharing.

'The Cardiac Hotel' is the perfect blend of melancholy and upbeat. Something to really listen to, something to cherish and become totally engulfed in.

Review - Isaac Birchall

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