CD Review of External Affairs by Ligion

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External Affairs
starstarstarstarno star Label: Maple Jam Records
Released: 2007
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Making their debut on Maple Jam Records, Ligion’s External Affairs is a tight, satisfying rock album with some incredible musicianship. A large crop of wannabe rock throwback giants have sprung up of late, but Ligion sounds pleasantly fresh and energetic. They know their skills and they put them to good use on all 11 songs of this record.

The bass-heavy, semi-industrial “On the Way” gets things off to an aggressive start. Ligion establishes their edginess from the get-go, and it follows liberally on tracks such as “Lost My Car,” Come On,” and “The Other Side.” “Pins and Needles” and “Weak (The Internal War)” both have an epic feel, with the latter striking a gorgeous, soaring chorus. “Weak” exploits the band’s full maturity and is the centerpiece of the album.

Ligion’s sound is heavily multi-layered, making repeat listens a must. Those who hear bits and pieces of their songs may write them off as a heavier version of the Killers, but astute listeners will also hear elements of the best of Stone Temple Pilots and even some subtle ‘80s influences. It is Ligion (Lig)’s vocals (yes, the singer is named Ligion) that add such dynamics to every cut. From the soothing tones of “Pins and Needles” to the borderline growling of “Come On,” this dude has some pipes. Notes on the band’s MySpace page make mention of his body contortions and complete envelopment while singing, and this dedication shines through on every track of this release.

The rest of band is undeniably talented, particularly June, who handles lead and rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, and backup vocals. The guitar work on display is intricate and very catchy, as is evidenced on “Lost My Car.” Solos pop up from time and the harmonizing, sometimes three-part, is a stunning addition.

The only fault with the album is that some of the songs start to melt together, in particular the last three songs. The diversity of the album ends after track eight, making the last leg of the album regrettably forgettable.

Ligion is definitely a band to be on the lookout for this spring. They are currently on tour with Saliva and Crossfade, and wouldn’t you know that they have more talent than those two bands combined. With proper word-of-mouth and label marketing, Ligion has the tools in place to really make a splash in the genre.

~Bill Clark