5.0 5
by The Black Crowes
It takes guts to assume the mantle "the most rock 'n' roll rock 'n' roll band in the world," but the Black Crowes have all the right moves -- not to mention the right spirit -- to live up to that boast. Lions, the band's sixth full-length album, conveys both sensuality and spirituality, toughness and tenderness, with a dexterity reminiscent of the


It takes guts to assume the mantle "the most rock 'n' roll rock 'n' roll band in the world," but the Black Crowes have all the right moves -- not to mention the right spirit -- to live up to that boast. Lions, the band's sixth full-length album, conveys both sensuality and spirituality, toughness and tenderness, with a dexterity reminiscent of the Stones at their early-'70s peak, Chris Robinson and company are entirely capable of churning out boozy, bluesy foot-stompers like "Miracle to Me" and "Ozone Mama" that require the listener to do nothing more than surrender to the groove. But where their earliest records bordered on the one-dimensional, the band has sent off some beautiful, far-reaching shoots in recent times. "Young Man, Old Man," for instance, rolls along on waves of percussion as primordial as the Mississippi hills that served as its inspiration. The sprawling closer "Lay It All on Me," on the other hand, wraps a decidedly modern (and surprisingly mature) worldview around a complex melodic spiral. As ever, Rich Robinson borders on the unconscious in tossing off perfectly tailored riffs, including those that vein the slyly stuttering "Lickin' " and the danger-fraught "Midnight from the Inside Out." In refusing to bow to prevailing trends of lunk-headed hard rock and faux-street attitude, the Black Crowes may seem like an endangered species. But there's more than enough life in Lions to bode well for their survival.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
If the Black Crowes are anything, they are survivors (and, reportedly, if Chris Robinson had his way, he'd be a genuine survivor, appearing on CBS' genius television show with his wife Kate Hudson), weathering years of popularity and disdain, before emerging at the end of the '90s as a rarity -- a real, road-weathered rock & roll band, in the classic sense. And it wasn't just that they played classic rock -- they stayed out on the road constantly, bashing out albums when they weren't fighting record labels. By the dawn of the new millennium, there weren't many bands like that out on the market, and it was a mixed blessing -- it meant that they had an ugly breakup with their longtime label, American, but it also meant that there really wasn't anybody else for Jimmy Page to turn to when he wanted to tour in 1999. These two events inform Lions, their first album for V2 records, and their most idiosyncratic album since 1994's neglected gem, Amorica. Like that album, this record is instantly familiar, recalling many common and forgotten platters from the early '70s, yet twisted through a surprisingly individual voice from the Crowes. And, like that record, this is more about the music and the texture than the songs, which is disconcerting for anybody looking for the knockout songwriting of their first two records, or even "Stop Kicking My Heart Around." And, coming on the heels of that record, which was as tight a rock & roll album as they ever did, the diffuseness of Lions seems a bit off-kilter. Still, there's no denying that the group is stretching out and sounds terrific, and not just because Don Was is behind the boards. The group is supple, laying into jams without seeming indulgent, and rocking like a bastard when the occasion calls for it. It's just too bad that there aren't many songs to remember here. Some could argue that was the case with Amorica as well, but those never felt like excuses to play music, and the tone shifted dramatically from track to track. Here, the songs can seem incomplete, as if they got the sound of the track down, but not the structure. Still, this is a powerful, textured hard rock record that covers a lot of ground, surging from powerful riffs to gospel choruses and funkier-than-expected riffs. There are few bands of their time that could sound so versatile within the confines of hard rock, and if this doesn't really deliver memorable songs, tracks do jell on repeated plays, and the Black Crowes' kaleidoscopic vision of rock's history is reason enough to listen to this record -- even if you're left with a nagging suspicion that this could have been a knockout with some real songs in tow.

Product Details

Release Date:
V2 North America

Related Subjects


  1. Midnight from the Inside Out
  2. Lickin'
  3. Come On
  4. No Use Lying
  5. Losing My Mind
  6. Ozone Mama
  7. Greasy Grass River
  8. Soul Singing
  9. Miracle to Me
  10. Young Man, Old Man
  11. Cosmic Friend
  12. Cypress Tree
  13. Lay It All on Me

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Lions 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Say what you want about the Black Crowes, (''sho enuff'' going down as one the the top 10-20 bands of all time, which is without argument), & their evolving style ala Metallica (ticking off so called ''die hard'' fans who really end up being junkies of one or two early albums & never understanding real human music, that it must change & grow over time as the band members change, grow & age). The Black Crowes will always please & surprise fans, Lions is no exception. Even ''weaker'' albums like Three Snakes & One Charm (which has some seriously hardcore licks on it if you listen) & Amorica (which I thought was incredible, especially the two soft tracks 9: Wiser Time & 11: Descending) are better than the pure dung since Nirvana died, (w/the exception of the Oasises, Pearl Jams, Buckcherries, STPs, BECKs, Radioheads & Three Doors Down, etc). Cancel all the damn Creed & Matchbox 20 kiddie concerts & let the Black Crowes & Oasis upcoming tour wash your blood clean & your musical sins away...shame on everyone for still failing to recognize the Crowes as being right up there w/other great bands that I ALSO know every song & note by like the Eagles, Floyd, Zepplin, The Stones, Nirvana, STP, Soundgarden & on & on
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album kicks from the beginning and to the end!! Don't be misled by magazine charts and such..go out and get this is a real GEM!!! This is Black Crowes at their best!!! It's got some light stuff in it but the album is mostly HUGE GUITARS baby!! Cypress Tree is one of the best songs on the album if I were to pick one...Also Catch a Lickin is awesome to...So many...Thats what makes this a REAL Album!! All the songs are GREAT!! If you are any kind of a music fan, this CD will stay in your player for a long time!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, I drifted from the Black Crowes shortly after the Southern Harmony & Musical Companion album. I heard a couple of the new tracks on the radio, and I had to check out the rest of the album. Boy, does this give a the rock-n-roll class of 2001 a real kick in the _ss !!!! Time to check out the backlog of Black Crowes CD's for the past 10 years...
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a long time Crowes fan, I have to say that this is my favorite BC album. it is more textured and diverse than some of their other albums. I like all the crowes albums, probably least of which is Three Snakes One Charm, which still isn't that bad. I really hope these guys get back together, because they proved with this album that they still have a lot left in them. Rich's riffs are as clever and heavy as ever, i'm sure touring with Jimmy Page didn't hurt, and Chris displays his amazing vocals, proving himself one of the greatest frontment in rock. They pull off both the straight ahead rockers as well as the ballads, and they have long ago "traded their black feathers for a crown." Brilliant album.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago