Review by Ryan Leach
Wounded Lion is from Los Angeles. To the best of my knowledge, “Friendly?” (2009) was the band’s first In The Red release, followed shortly thereafter by a Self-titled LP. Like the material of their minimalist, post-punk influences (Wire, LiLiput, etc.), “Friendly?” is chock full of barre chords. (This is an abrasive 45.) Nevertheless, there’s texture to guitarist/singer Brad Eberhard’s guitar parts—his playing sounds like a repetitive, modern-era machine pumping out automobile parts; not quite where Wire’s Newman/Gilbert were on Chairs Missing—Wounded Lion is a little more belligerent—but he’s not too far back either. The lyrics to “Friendly?” are so straightforward they border on Dan Treacy’s work with The Television Personalities, sans the Ken Kesey influence.
B Side “Bad Moon Rising” has little relation to the Creedence original, outside of lyrics. Wounded Lion presents a full transformative use of the music. While picking such a predictable (albeit great) song usually produces a banal result—even the mighty Gun Club didn’t do much with “Run Through the Jungle”—Wounded Lion’s Psychocandy treatment is wonderful.
Even if the music weren’t great, “Friendly?” would be worth the purchase price alone for the Penguin Books-inspired cover art. Then again, this is the Lion. And they have yet to release a lemon.