New wave, new sound
Even though Lion On A Leash is Space Cadet’s first album, the creative force behind the project is well-known in the punk scene. Space Cadet is Matt Hock (vocals) and Dave Walsh (guitar), both are better known with their band The Explosion, which they started in 1998. In their press release, the duo describes their new sound as different to The Explosion, but rather a mix of new wave, Britpop and post-punk. Their album features other punk legends like Brian Baker from Bad Religion and Mike Sneeringer from The Loved Ones, just to name a few.
The album starts with “Forever For A While.” The song was the first one written by the duo and also the first one to be released. The exciting song mixes modern sounds with some good old new wave vibes. The song radiates a positive feeling that might even have the potential to make the listener’s day. The pure energy of the song is a joy.
“Start Running Away” takes a different direction. The song is reminiscent of bands like The Cure, especially with that certain kind of melancholy in the sound as well as the vocals. While this song might not have the massive amount of energy like the previous one, it is still a song to rock out to. This is mostly due to the guitar solo towards the end.
Now, “If Only” is peak ‘80s new wave. From the very first note, there is something intriguing about this track. This song could be made straight in the ‘80s. In “No Accident,” the synth is strong, and this is a song that would fit great into the dark rooms of a goth club. It has the right amount of darkness but with a glimmer of light. The light goes out with “Screaming For You,” especially with lines like, “The enemy is on the inside.” A line that captures the feeling of anxiety very well.
“Bad Luck” lifts the mood, with some 60/70 Britpop. The track almost sounds like it escaped straight out of Mick Jagger’s mind. If someone would confuse this song with a Rolling Stones song or maybe even an Iggy Pop one, they shouldn’t be blamed. This song really channels that energy masterfully. “Bad Luck” is different from the other songs on the album; it comes as a complete (and welcomed) surprise.
“Safe And Sound” shows how great storytelling works in music. The duo proves that the art of lyrics-writing is not lost. Thanks to “Lose Control,” the listener now knows why the album title is Lion On A Leash. Then the last song, “Slö,” shows one last time how talented the band really is because even without many vocals or lyrics, this track isn’t boring or forgettable.
Space Cadet is a fascinating project. Lion On A Leash is different from other albums. The energy and love the duo has for their craft are vibrant and are reflected in their music.