There’s something very comfortable about listening to Tired Lion’s debut album, Dumb Days. If, like me, you fondly remember ‘90s bands like Veruca Salt, Sonic Youth, The Breeders, Hole and Garbage, you’ll hear Sophie Hopes’ vocals fronting Tired Lion and reminisce with a smile.
Times may change, but thankfully, music spins around itself to deliver new versions of what we already love.
Sophie’s voice can range from soft and delicate to pure, blistering screams and similarly, the band around her traverse these dynamics in the same way, making for an album that despite its venomous moments is tempered with touches of softness.
Opening with a ferocious declaration of frustration in Japan to the restrained nuance of I’ve Been Trying, there’s an exploration on this album that keeps it fresh, track after track.
The band have evidently grown up over the last four years if this album’s honest lyrics prove anything. Not shy to discuss personal issues, the band address them within the walls of distorted guitar and hook-laden choruses.
Camp, a two minute 49 second triumph of fast-paced grunge, is a perfect example of a track that sonically explores the grunge genre whilst laying down lyrics that resonate with their audience. Latest single, Fresh, depicts the moving on from youth and coming to terms with adulting.
“I had it all, I can’t win
It’s the only thing that I need
I’m sinking under my skin
It’s the only way I’ll win.”
… before the screamed refrain of “Disconnect my youth!” It’s a song that epitomises the maturity of this record and how much effort has gone into each track.
It’s hard to fault the album’s production, which was performed by Luke Boerdam from Violent Soho and honorary fifth member, Dave Parkin, a fellow Western Australian known for working with Karnivool, Abbe May and Jebediah. Sonically, the transitions from soft to loud are engineered beautifully, avoiding the jarring that can occur.
Hopes’ vocals soar above the guitars just right, and there’s a warm sound to the guitars, despite the flurry of feedback and distortion below.
This album, whilst not breaking into new ground, is a solid debut from a four-piece that are helping to bring grunge back on top of the Australian rock scene. Western Australia does it again, germinating a sound-storm that will roll over this country and the world, providing us with a group that we can all be proud of – as they should be of this excellent album.
Released: 15 September 2017 via Dew Process/Universal Music Australia