Frank Lenz is making some changes. The former drummer for bands like Richard Swift, Pedro the Lion, and Starflyer 59, current drummer for The Weepies and Everest, accomplished solo artist, and film and television composer (Holy Rollers, Strictly Background, Showtime) – who once worked his way up out of homelessness by working as a professional music impersonator in Atlantic City – is stepping forward to make a statement…by saying virtually nothing.
Lenz’s new, almost-entirely instrumental album Water Tiger (out June 25 on Velvet Blue Music) is a mix of quirky, spaced-out, ambient rock, strange old electronics, dappled with upbeat, super catchy pop hooks. It was created with no agenda whatsoever, and with no agenda comes freedom.
Lenz explains; “I’ve spent a countless amount of time making music with the intention of pleasing others. This time I made an instrumental because ‘I’ wanted to. I wanted to create something beautiful, something with heart. I wanted the record to have symmetry and not to rely on dissonance, I wanted a textured repetitive format without making everything 'weird' sounding to compensate. Lyrics tell a story and direct a listener on where to go. Tones and textures provide a path for the listener to follow with freedom. We forget the power that sound alone can offer.”
Mastered by TW Walsh (Cold War Kids, Sufjan Stevens, Foxygen) with an expansive 8-panel digipack designed by Etherien, 14 out of Water Tiger’s 15 tracks are pure instrumentals. Lenz played nearly every part on the record, using a variety of instruments: banjo, guitar, melodica, wurlitzer piano, hammond organ, rolland and casio synths, and a Parker Steiner 'Synthacon'. Much of the album was based around the Synthacon an obscure mono synth from the 70's built in Salt Lake City, Utah. (“I would basically get stoned and sip on whiskey turning knobs until I came to something inspirational, then I'd have to write down all the knob settings so I could return to that sound, I loved using it. It creates it's own sounds or you can modify sounds through it. ")
Water Tiger does have one track with vocals, a cheeky 60’s surfer track called Debts Lance - For Bella. It’s the final song on the record and the only one without an explanation. Lenz prefers to let the song speak for itself, saying only “I’ll discuss almost any personal circumstances in my life, but I’d rather leave this one just for Bella.” It’s a fitting answer – after all, the words are already written.
"Stunning, Jon Brion meets Sigur Rós-style instrumentals" - Under the Radar