Shann Lions, Frontman of Four Lions, blends genres and visionary influences in new synth-heavy masterpiece
Mystic Park, the groundbreaking musical project led by the acclaimed Shann Lions, renowned as the frontman of Bendigo roots rockers Four Lions, has finally unveiled their highly anticipated debut album, Silver Lining.
Thriving with creative freedom, Lions’ latest musical creation defies conventions with its unique synth-heavy and sporadic sound, setting it apart from anything else in the current music scene.
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With Four Lions, Lions’ has been earning his stripes in the local music scene with the band’s trademark classic rock combined with textbook pop structures, featuring cascades of chiming keyboards that play off against tasteful guitar riffs, offset by powerhouse vocals.
Now, Lions’ goes beyond the boundaries of traditional songwriting, putting his considerable songwriting and instrumental chops on full display. Not only did he pen all the tracks, but he also played most of the instruments on the album, showcasing his exceptional versatility, virtuosity, and natural experimental flare within this solo project.
“In Four Lions although I write the majority of the songs, the instrumentation is shared; though with this record I played guitars, bass, piano, synth, melodian, harmonica and vocals. It was just Finn Keane (co-producer) and I set up running from one instrument to the next,” Lions explains.
“Four Lions is more measured; this was on the fly even with my writing as we were recording for some songs like the end section of ‘Wall Of Ice’ was inspired and written on the spot after binging on John Coltrane.”
With his signature vocals leading the way, Lions’, aka Mystic Park’s, debut album Silver Lining serves as a remarkable musical chronicle, delving into Lions’ personal journey over a transformative six-month period.
Against a cosmic musical backdrop that seamlessly merges art rock, chillout, and alt-country, Mystic Park takes listeners on an unexpected and wholly unique sonic odyssey across 10 impressive tracks filled with self-aware lyrics and meticulous guitars that meld seamlessly into the surrounding synth lines.
As a whole, the album draws from an eclectic array of artists, weaving together the spirit of The Cure, War On Drugs, Neil Young; the rhythmic prowess of Jim White from Dirty Three and the creative genius of RZA from Wu-Tang Clan.
Infusing the beats with pulsating energy that resonates throughout the album, the songs from Mystic Park envelop listeners in earworm goodness, while the lyrics can stop us dead in our tracks.
Akin to bands that have built their sound and reputation on experimentation (that of Two Door Cinema Club for example), Lions is not afraid to evolve and grow through a means of experimentation, injecting a familiar sound with moments more adventurous and free-thinking.
“It’s an art piece within music, there’s a visual element, and my personal story over six months. I hope people pick up on the fact this is a very eclectic real album. One songwriter, two producers making a record that’s both familiar yet different to what else’s is our there at the moment.”
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Co-producing the album alongside Finn Keane at the esteemed Melbourne studio Head Gap and mastered in the USA by Ludwing Diaz, Lions ensured that every nuance and sonic detail was meticulously crafted, resulting in an audio experience that demands attention.
“This album was made during covid so was spaced out over the year. I live in Bendigo yet the studio was in Preston so I had numerous cancellations due to metro and country lockdowns.
“The plus is that due to it being primarily Finn Keane making the record with me we didn’t have to navigate the covid numbers in a building as much. I don’t know if this record could have been made as a full band based on those restrictions.
“I’ve never made a record where I had so much self-reliance, ‘It’s nothing like anything else that’s out there right now’ – well that’s what I’ve tried to create.”
It’s truly an audacious debut that defies expectations and pushes the boundaries of contemporary music. With its fusion of genres and visionary influences, the album promises to leave a lasting impression on the music industry and captivate audiences with its unique sonic landscape.
Accompanying the album release, Lion’ has released a groundbreaking live-action AI-created music video for the titular track, ‘Silver Lining’.
Created in live action and then the video has been made in live action and then treated in AI by Dave Hanson, this visually stunning creation pushes the boundaries of technology and creativity. Fusing artificial intelligence with music and visual art, Lions has created an immersive experience that transcends expectations.
“We spent a day around Dja Dja Wurrung country Castlemaine and Bendigo filming, then Dave sprinkled his magic with AI all over it. The reception for the video has been wild, I was the front cover of the Saturday edition of The Bendigo Advertiser and I’ve done multiple interviews with ABC Radio National. I suppose having something out there that is perceived as cutting-edge has helped.
“I am a 100 per cent independent artist so anything I make it’s great when people believe and can see what my vision is.”
Set to explore the debut album and show it off across Victoria, Lions will perform a run of theatrical, visually captivating live shows from June to August, promising an unforgettable experience for all in attendance.
“The shows are almost like a rock show within theatre, with visuals and our good mate Eugene who’s an alien from another planet appearing. I don’t know how many shows Mystic Park will play as I view this like art, it’s only so many shows and we might disappear.
“The run of four shows we have booked Handle Bar Bendigo June 24, Brunswick Artist Bar July 14, Taproom Castlemaine July 16 and Golden Vine Hotel August 19 are all free entry and some are family and dog friendly too.”
Whether this is a one-off foray down the experimental rabbit hole or a sign of things to come, Silver Lining by Mystic Park is a new favourite we’ll be spooning for a long, long time.
Silver Lining was released on June 1 through Lions’ own Verse Chorus Verse label.
Keep up to date with all things Mystic Park by heading here.
This article was made in partnership with Shann Lions