Dude Manor is the first-ever record that reminds me of my age, and tells me that I am no longer in my twenties. Listening to the EP is like hearing dozens of bands you’ve heard before. This sort of familiarity, however, brings you closer to the EP. If Living With Lions is aware of this then it is a marketing strategy that could make or break the group’s career.
Opening with an intro that lasts for fifty seconds, this is a premonition of things to come. Dude Manor is noisy, it is fun, and it is testosterone-heavy—and there’s nothing wrong with that. It evokes memories of punk in the ’70s, shades of ’80s post-punk, and a dash of indie rock and grunge in the ’90s. In the end, labeling doesn’t matter anymore. Matt Postal’s guttural screaming compliments Stu McKillop’s boyish back-up vocals. It is the band’s own testament of All Tomorrow’s Parties: lots of beer and total debauchery. (Dude Manor is the band’s endearing term for the house they shared in Vancouver.)
There are accusations that bands associated with emo have the tendency to be misogynistic wherein they paint women as the guilty party, the ones responsible for their misery. Though the group is made up solely of boys, Dude Manor doesn’t drive away potential female followers. Postal doesn’t blame the object of his affection for his heartache, as is evidenced on the single, “Said and Done”: “I thought that I was different from the boys you see/It turns out that I’m as bad, so don’t take a second look at me.”
The riffs on Dude Manor are decent, many times, infectious, but there’s nothing new or extraordinary. The lyrics are what you expect from a rock band: introspective, aggressive, full of self-loathing. On “Later Is Better” the boys talk about the power of nostalgia, the things they have taken for granted and, finally, a self-analysis on why certain things or actions happen.
A personal favorite is the last song “A Noisy Noise Annoys the Boys.” In it Postal hints that after listening to Dude Manor’s six songs the would-be listeners will be craving for more. “It’s going to pull at you, until you hit the ground/Point your ears at me so you can hear the sound of my voice/Will you listen if I tell you more?”
So will I listen to Dude Manor again and again? The answer is yes. As for some people who would think I am too old for this record, let them blather all day long; I couldn’t care less.