PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Lenola: Treat Me To Some Life

Dave Heaton


Treat Me to Some Life

Label: File 13
US Release Date: 2001-03-13

These days it seems that most of the bands influenced by the early '90s "shoegazer" scene or interested in making similarly dreamlike music work in the electronic or ambient fields. The Philadelphia rock quartet Lenola are one of the groups who have a similar musical purpose but fall squarely within the realm of rock and roll. As their career progresses, they've been adding more pop form to their songs, and becoming a bit less out-there, but they still surround their songs with a glaze of psychedelic sound.

Lenola's latest full-length release, Treat Me To Some Life, is a mix of snappy pop tunes and Flaming Lips-ish rock numbers, all flavored with an expansive, dreamy swirl. Their lyrics are not obvious but sort of obtuse, alluding to love and life and all the other eternal topics, but with a poetic mysteriousness. They don't communicate, but suggest. Take a line like this one: "Before I go, before I leave / Could you say it again repeatedly" (from the album's first track, "First Floor Killer". It leaves quite an emotional impact, without ever revealing what the "it" is.

The band's sound is created through mostly your usual rock instruments, and recorded with a relatively "low-tech", home-taping approach. It's not the techniques or the instruments, but the sounds they make and what they do with them that makes Lenola unique. Musically there's a lot going on in each track, from soaring guitar riffs to eccentric effects and textures. Yet beneath it all, their songs are relatively straightforward, as evidenced by a jangly pop song like "Cast Your Lines", where they take some of the experimental veneer away and just play it straight. They can dress up their songs until they whirl your head into a dream, but take the outfit away and the songs still hit you hard.

I could describe, classify and categorize Lenola all day, but I'd only be telling a small part of the story. What makes Lenola so special is the warm glow that their songs exude. Songs like "White-Lined Knuckle Landing" and "Come Back to Retreat" are so stunningly gorgeous that reams of paper filled with big words and reference points could do little or no justice to them. To me, my intellectual justifications for Lenola's greatness matter less than how comfortable their songs felt the first time I played them. Treat Me To Some Life has a happy radiance to it. It's like a gentle dream that makes you feel good inside, and that, my friends, is priceless.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.