Larry O. Dean’s 1997 debut album “Throw The Lions to the Christians” is getting cleaned up and put out for a whole new audience to hear. With the release of the re-master ready to hit shelves on March 6th, I had the opportunity to hear this record and see what it’s all about. With a title like “Throw the Lions to the Christians”, it’s hard not to be already drawn in. Could the Dean’s album live up to its great title?
For me, I cannot shake a similarity to The Mountain Goats when I listen to the record. Dean’s vocals remind me of a sub-par John Darnielle to the point where I just want to go listen to the Mountain Goats. As the album went on, I found myself telling Dean to hurry it up and that I’ve got other things to do ….. like listen to The Mountain Goats.
The lyrics of the songs on “Throw the Lions to the Christians” are pretty basic overall. The subject matter of the songs is fun here and there like in the third track “Trinkets”, but really they feel pretty bland. I was expecting some really clever lyrics with a title like “Throw the Lions to the Christians”. Dean should have saved the title for a more stable album. Damn, what a great title.
The best thing about this long-player is definitely the guitar playing. The solo on “Dearly Beloved” is fantastic and hooks me in, but leaves me unsatisfied with the rest of the album. Tracks like “What’s With You” have me irritated at the lack of fluidity in the record and flirtation with various genres. Not only does the lack of fluidity get on my nerves, but so do the whiney vocals of Dean.
I wasn’t won over by the end of the album, and tried unsuccessfully a few repeat listens in hopes I’d change my opinion. Dean’s debut solo work is not as strong as his four songs EP with Malcontent. Not by any means, but, it still has some redeeming factors. His guitar work ranges from decent to great throughout and if you are really into a band like The Mountain Goats, this may be for you.
Let’s break this down with the old report card grade. I’m going to give “Throw the Lions to the Christians” by Larry O. Dean a C-. If I didn’t like the guitar sound on this record, it’d get a much lesser grade. Now, I’m going to go listen to some Mountain Goats.
(Released on 6th March 2012)
(6.5 / 10)