Lionize are probably best known here as Clutch’s contemporaries and support act (they were also signed to Clutch’s Weathermaker label), though their history stretches back over a decade and includes stints working in Jamaica with Steel Pulse.
Their reggae roots are less evident here with a sound that’s as much Thin Lizzy and Free as it is Solomon Burke and rhythm and blues.
It’s a heady combination topped off by the distinctive, smoky and occasionally raw vocals of diminutive vocalist Nate Bergman (think Patton Oswalt with Paul Rodgers pipes), who croons, burns and beats his way through a slew of songs, buoyed along on the swirl of a Hammond organ and a thrashing snare drum.
They know when to lay off the gas too, Bergman’s soulful chops brought to bear on the aching Ain’t It A Shame and the thrilling Let You Down, where he gets to channel his inner Joe Cocker.
To call the whole thing life-affirming would be to understate it somewhat.