For the past 10 years or so television has served as a springboard for a number of artists making the leap to wider recognition. It’s been just over seven years since William Fitzsimmons’ “Passion Play” was featured on the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, and his sound remains largely the same. On Lions, Fitzsimmons has made a conscious effort to return to his folk roots. Practically every song revolves around a picked acoustic guitar and softly sung, personal vocals. Though his style of lyricism allows for some bright moments on the album, it mostly falls short of being truly relatable.
This brand of lo-fi folk is Fitzsimmons’ bread and butter, but Lions’ best moments come on songs such as “Fortune” and “From You,” which add much needed flavour to the album. It is on these songs that the influence of producer Chris Walla—guitarist in Death Cab For Cutie—is most obvious. Simply left acoustic, “Fortune” would be a fine song, but the low drums and backing guitar are what make it stand out. Likewise, the title track helps give the album some much-needed variation.
What Fitzsimmons delivers is a fairly solid, safe album, but one that is a little too even. Early in his career, Fitzsimmons was often compared to Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), but rather than alter his sound as Beam has, Fitzsimmons has stayed the course. Though Lions should satisfy his existing fans, it is unlikely that it will create many new ones.