(Copyright © 1999-2024 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
The Last Ten Feet Of The Suicide Mile , 6.5/10
The Swerving Corpse , 6/10
My Invisible Name , 6/10
Treat Me To Some Life , 6/10
Sharks & Flames , 6.5/10

Lenola began as one of the numerous American copycats of My Bloody Valentine. Based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, although technically in New Jersey, the band debuted with the singles Colonial 509 (Tappersize, 1994), that contains Discount Oatmeal and Greedo, and Oh Yes Jeep Is Good (Tappersize, 1995), that contains Tarred Dog Saved and Frisbee Weekend. The tremolo-heavy songs showed a promising style, derivative but also powerfully emotional.

They recorded The Last Ten Feet Of The Suicide Mile (Tappersize, 1996) in the pure shoegazing tradition. Dueling guitarists Dave Grubb and Jay Laughlin sustain dreamy chords and whisper dreamy lyrics. All songs repeat the same pattern. A warped psychedelia, that quotes Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev via Can and early Pink Floyd, shapes Rat Circle, Z-Frame, Pipebomb and the lengthy Gorilla Arm, while occasional bursts of dissonance bury sonic stains like Twice Twice.

Test Disaster and Plates Must Spin are the melodic highlights of The Swerving Corpse (Tappersize, 1998), a collection that began to emphasize the pop element of their sound.

Leftover tracks appeared on the EPs The Day The Laughter Smelled (Blackbean, 1998) and Resurection of the Close-Up on the Magic Spot (Fuzzy Box, 1998).

The experimental current runs stronger and deeper on My Invisible Name (Tappersize, 1999), although the band maintains a high degree of catchiness. Unsettling Down is almost languid Brit-pop of the Suede-ian kind, but this is only the icing. The cake has more flavors. The quasi-instrumental Jet Row is a surreal nonsense that mixes the pastoral psychedelia of early Pink Floyd and the zany folk-rock of the Holy Modal Rounders. Shoegazers must be proud of the wildly distorted merry-go-round of Who Made Me Bleed Like This. However, too many ideas are not fully developed: the maelstrom of Dust From Your Skin becomes more and more derivative, and the frantic rock and roll of Frukus (possibly the album's best intuition) is way too short.

More tracks surfaced on the EP The Electric Tickle (Tappersize, 2000).

Lazy Eye and Medicine Glow, the standout tracks of Treat Me To Some Life (Tappersize, 2001), further expanded the band's palette. The single Keep Coming Back (Second Story, 2002) was a valuable addition to this melodic canon.

Sharks & Flames (Homesleep, 2002), a double CD, completed the band's conversion to a simple, streamlined, melodic, concise sound. The focus has definitely shifted towards the "Apples In Stereo meets Flaming Lips" axis of psychedelic pop. The production is smooth and crystal-clear. The instruments are caressed rather than mangled. The mood is rural rathern than urban, bucolic rather than neurotic.
The trio of Dave Grubb, sean Byrne and Jay Laughlin (who wrote most of the songs) deliver light pop (Standing Still, Traffic Lights), occasionally derivative of Yes' smooth vocal harmonies (Eternal, All You Hide, Sudden Stop), languid psychedelia (Never Ends), folkish, acoustic lullabies (Fake Vegetables), as well as exuberant, jangling folk-rock (Gentlemen Overboard), sprightly country-rock (Shallow & Often), and vaudeville blues (Water on the Floor). Often, the song's naive construct is balanced by an electronic and rhythmic undercurrent that is all but linear. This kind of "smooth dischord" is best exemplified by Sleeping Dogs. This is a band specialized in the classic song format, but capable as well of the calm seven-minute meditation Impossible, that slowly mutates from an ecstatic David Crosby-ian ballad to a mournful gospel-jazz fanfare.
The scope of this collection is impressive, although a few songs could have been left out (especially on the second disc). It redefines Lenola as a protagonists of the neo-pop movement of the 2000s.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Giulio Bassanello)

What is unique about this music database