The Last 10 Feet of the Suicide Mile

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Right from the initial muffled wail and crunching feedback of slide of opening song "Shared a Route" -- not to mention the part-sighed part-sung, seemingly polysexual vocals -- it's clear enough that the members of Lenola were playing their copies of Isn't Anything and Loveless into the ground. Throughout The Last 10 Feet, there's a similar precedence of texture over traditional hooks and easily heard lyrics, a similarly woozy, collapsing atmosphere, a similar balance of volume and sheer, sweet beauty. But every band needs to start somewhere, and the fact of the matter is that like such similarly minded U.S. groups as the Swirlies, Lenola puts its own fine spin on a variety of shoegaze source materials. The Boo Radleys in particular had to be regular daytime listening for the quartet -- elements like the extended guitar shimmer of "Pipebomb" practically scream "Martin Carr, 1992," and in a very good way at that. The disoriented tremolo abuse so familiar from My Bloody Valentine still remains the core sonic signifier of just about everything, though unlike Kevin Shields' endless tweaking of that approach, the Lenola crew sticks with a less overtly produced delivery and no specific nods to hip-hop or techno. There are also signs that Lenola doesn't just listen to Creation circa 1991. The strutting "Patches" somehow compacts both early glam and new wave into the equation and makes it work, while the just off-kilter enough arrangement of the concluding "Gorilla Arm" has something of the Cure's feel at that band's spryest. It was early days yet for the band, but The Last 10 Feet of the Suicide Mile still makes for enjoyable listening, a good way to get in a bliss-out guitar pop fix when the need arises.

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