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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Frank Lenz
Label: Velvet Blue Music
There was a time in Christian music circles that it seemed like Frank Lenz was the drummer on every “cool” album. To list the band and artists he has performed with would take more space than I have been allotted. It is even more difficult a task to name drummers who have also done a credible job as vocalists. Does Lenz belong in the same league as drummer/vocalists such as Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish) or Jerry Gaskill (King’s X)?
Given the difference in styles, that probably isn’t a fair question. Lenz’s efforts on _Conquest Slaughter_ are much more in the do it yourself spirit of the indies, more Beck than bombast, more lo-fi than most.
“The Man With the Curse on His Head” has overtones of '90’s grunge, as if Nirvana had been fronted by Neil Young. “Circus Cat” is similar in tone to the recently deceased Elliott Smith.
“Jesus, Take Care of Your Body” gets me back to the Jellyfish analogy, and is almost like listening to a Beach Boys rough cut. “Tree Swinging Hippies” features the vocals of Lenz’s uber-publicist wife, Lori.
Fans of math rock, indie rock, and experimentalists should find a lot to like here. The casual listener should give this a little extra time to catch the subtleties in tone. Lenz at times is a lot like Half Handed Cloud – vocally, he ranges from Paul Simon to Brian Wilson to a style all his own. And musically, he mixes it up, employing unconventional methods and tunings, yet somehow it all works. One of the more interesting discs I’ve heard in a while.
Brian A. Smith