Water Tiger

Frank Lenz

Velvet Blue Music, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Talk about impressive resumes. The former drummer for Richard Swift, Pedro The Lion and Starflyer 59, Frank Lenz these days sits behind the kit for The Weepies and Everest in addition to composing for film and TV. Not a bad list of accomplishments, especially considering that Lenz was homeless at one point. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though he's made his career around dialogue and very literate bands, Water Tiger is pretty much an instrumental album. Somewhat an amalgamation of all the bands he's played in, Lenz's solo effort seeks to please himself first and combines space-rock, atmospheric texturing, outdated electronics and even straight-up melodic pop hooks. Lenz plays all the instruments here, including banjos, organs, and pianos, and it comes off as a soundtrack to an unconventional science fiction comedy.

The opening track, "Complex Miles And His Undersea Adventure," does a great job of letting you know what's in store, the layered synth and surreal electronics building a blurry atmosphere that resides somewhere between cinematic and ultra-quirky. Much of the remainder of the disc follows a similar course—ambient, wandering and both odd and fascinating. Changes in tone come with the beauty in "Smooth 90s" and 'Oh Key Dough Key," the surf rock feeling of "Debts Lance (For Bella)," the upbeat "Two Nudes Make A Right" or the acoustic picking that evolves into horns on “All The Gears In The World.”

At 15 tracks in length, there's much to absorb here. As far as musician's music, this is aces and completely fascinating in its humble complexity. For those only lukewarm on instrumental music, it's probably best to divide this up into two separate listening sessions for the best impact. But really, regardless of your thoughts on vocal-less music, how could you not like songs titled "Make A Fist And Punch A Raccoon" or "Jolly Sassy Opera Singer"?

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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