Quite a strange ‘un, this, intimate and introspective and entirely in line with * Homesleep Records’* propensity for late nite devil-in-disguise softfooted ballcrackin.
’Sharks And Flames’ is a patchy but occasionally quite beautiful double album that marks Philadelphic pie-in-ears Lenola’s fifth full-length foray into psychedelic musing and psych imagery.
The Webb Brothers would kill to have the cultured layback spliffery of ‘Standing Still’ or ‘Wipe My Mouth' in their repertoire for example, and the 60s neo-narcotic-nodding doggedness of this release flits between Love-Lee excellence (‘Impossible’) and Loaded-era Velvets (‘Sudden Stop’).
There’s some life in this long-player too though; witness the driving riffage of ‘Just As It Appears’ for evidence of some controlled arrangement and ease of dynamic that marks Lenola out as being a talented and experienced proposition who, at their best, are more than capable of standing tall alongside Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips and (occasionally) Grandaddy as sweet n' lo-fi ambassadors of Americana.
Hard to call, and in truth perhaps this would have been better as a single album – although fans of the genre will no doubt be delighted by the dip-in-an-out dippy delights to be found in places. Main songwriter Jay Laughlin and the band tap into the Sunday Morning whiplash-headedness that we come to expect and almost even love from the label.