Treat Me to Some Life
There are always those bands you describe to people as “something good to listen to while you study or clean the house.” The pantheon of Chicago/Louisville-sound groups and a whole host of boring post-rock logicians fit into this category. It was all meant to be so abstract (post-college white guy jazz), but it required no concentration to listen to it. Maybe that was the problem for all of its detractors• too much concentration on their part. Here is another oversimplification, but who cares: there are bands under the college rock rubric that have short catchy pop songs that are a joy to listen to, and then there are all those other groups that are fun to talk about, but a drag to listen to. Well, Lenola, somewhat like Japancakes, is trying to bridge the gap.
On Treat Me to Some Life, there are actually melodies that are recognizable as pop. No doubt, some of the numbers try your patience. (One song, “Derelict Organ,” goes on for about 2:15 before it actually changes. Thanks, but if I don•t want hooks, I•ll listen to reggae.) However, for the most part, Lenola’s experiment is a success. Genre-wise, they’re all over the map, yet manage to get all their horses going in one direction. It never comes off as if they don’t know what they want to sound like (as The Beta Band sometimes does). Real stand-outs on the disc include the revved up “Cast Your Lines,” “First Floor Killer,” and the Salako-esque “Lazy Eye.” Lenola’s sound is at once buzzing/droning and staccato pop. To mix a metaphor• something you can consciously sink your ears into. It’s as if you’re listening to Jim O’Rourke producing a very accessible, and much less Oriental, Macha. In part, it’s because of bands like Lenola that File 13 is shaping up to be such an excellent label. Here’s a label that knows all too well that a spoonful of sugar (pop) makes the non-directional music go down.
File 13 Records, PO Box 2302 Philadelphia, PA 19103, http://www.file-13.com