Sound Advice: The Golden Killer by Lioness
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Sound Advice: The Golden Killer by Lioness

The Torontonian trio carve out their own identity on their full-length debut.

Toronto-based dance-punk trio Lioness didn’t change their sound on their full length debut, The Golden Killer. They’ve just made it more their own.

Vocalist Vanessa Fischer, formerly of No Dynamics, still has a big, soaring, soulful voice, while bassist Ronnie Morris, formerly of controller.controller, still managed to make his instrument sound remarkably like a revving engine. In short, all the things that made their self-titled 2008 EP so listenable is still there.

That album felt like a stripped down controller.controller record, though—albeit with a very different vocalist—and The Golden Killer is much more interesting and varied.

One of the main differences between the two releases is the number of keyboards. Keys are thick on the ground on Killer. The synth sounds on “Electricity” and “The Night”–which you can hear by clicking the stream above–are almost house-y, while on the more downtempo “Golden Thorn,” the keys are reminiscent of ’80s-style synthpop.

Lioness also experiment with tempo on the album. The majority of the album moves at the same driving pace you’ve come to expect, but in addition to gearing down a little for “Golden Thorn,” they also get outright slow on “They Clip the Wings of Birds.” The reverb-drenched trudge starts softly, then builds to a thunderous crescendo two-thirds of the way through.

All that said, Lioness still spend most of Killer doing what they do best, which is marrying the dark with the danceable. The back half of the album is filled with disco drums. “Temptation” is a particularly impressive example of Lioness at their peak performance, sounding like the result of an unlikely mating of Donna Summer and Glenn Danzig.

Given that all three members of Lioness are alumni of well-respected local bands (drummer Jeff Scheven was also in controller.controller), it’s inevitable that anything they do is going to be compared to their previous projects, but The Golden Killer goes a long way to helping the band cement its own identity.