Having heard very little about The Lion And The Wolf – aka solo artist Thomas George – until very recently, I had no idea what to expect when I pressed play on his first full-length album Symptoms. What I felt was a wave of relief wash over me. If you are looking for an album to chill out to, and you enjoy listening to The Vaccines, Tom Odell or Of Monsters And Men, you should definitely put this album on your Christmas list.
Even just a few tracks in, it is obvious that The Lion And The Wolf has carved out his own signature sound, and Symptoms is definitely a solid effort for a debut full length. Having recently finished a European tour, and with over 100 live shows under his belt, it is obvious that Thomas is a hard worker, and his efforts have really paid off.
Lyrically, the album is complex and poetic, which makes it a really interesting listen, but if you are looking to relax it is also easy to lose yourself in its acoustic, natural sounding, lo-fi melodies.
With this genre it can be very easy to fall into the trap of every track on an album sounding the same. The Lion And The Wolf has successfully dodged this, with every track featuring its own defining elements; the outro of ‘Ghosts On Trinity’, the meandering introduction to ‘Ink And Skin’, and the almost orchestral choruses of ‘November Saints’ are a few of my favourite examples.
There are numerous changes of pace throughout the album, which mixes mellow tracks with happy-go-lucky ones. I especially love the contrast in ‘Tangled Tape’, which starts slow and reflective and suddenly hits you with an upbeat verse around two minutes in.
Plus, the variety of track lengths throughout the album helps to avoid it sounding formulaic and monotonous – some tracks, such as opener ‘Bandages’, come in at under two minutes long, and a few, like ‘Green’, are closer to five.
Released at the end of last month, I think Symptoms is one of the strongest albums of this year. If it gets the attention and recognition it deserves, then The Lion And The Wolf could have his busiest year yet in 2015.
– Katie Boyden