Arty Lenin CD CDs
discography Syracuse NY
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Arty Lenin - Ease Of Life
CD $11.99 (2001)
|02 This Sweet
||07 Crack of
|03 Not Much
||08 When We
Close Our Eyes
||10 One and One
Gary Frenay and Arty Lenin - Live At
CD $11.99 (1999)
Flashcubes - Brilliant
CD $11.99 (2003)
Flashcubes - Live In Japan Raw Power Pop
CD $19.99 (2003)
Flashcubes - Bright Lights / Best of
CD $11.99 (1997,
Guitarist Arty Lenin, a founding member of the fab power-pop
group The Flashcubes (he wrote the group's first single,
"Christi Girl") and a former member of The Paul Collins Band
(circa that band's 1993 From Town To Town album), steps out for
his first solo album, an unassuming package of wistful pop music
that's unafraid to rock but isn't ashamed to weep, either.
A few of the songs on A Life Of Ease will already be familiar to
Lenin's fans, as "The Sweetest Smell," "Cherry's World" and
"When We Close Our Eyes" have all been staples of The
Flashcubes' live set for years (and the latter tune is likely to
be recorded by The Flashcubes for their forthcoming album). But
each song makes its recorded debut here, and each still shines
in Lenin's solo environment. "When We Close Our Eyes," in
particular stands out as a defiant expression of vulnerability,
a brilliant call-to-arms for dreamers struggling to get by in a
harsh, cynical world.
Much of the album deals, in varying degrees, with themes of
alienation, of balancing vulnerability with durability. The
opening track, "Mr. Acarius" (misspelled as "Acarious" in the
track listings), name-checks William Faulkner's short story to
set the proper tone and, more important, to instantly captivate
pop fans with a breezy, catchy vibe that belies its Iyrical
concerns. It's followed by the sprightly, lighthearted "The
Sweetest Smell," providing a study in contrasts before returning
to the unsatisfied longing that lurks within the country-ish
"Not Much Has Changed," cowritten by Paul Collins.
The magic of Lenin's songs is that they express feelings of
longing eloquently and yet never fall prey to an oh-woe-is-me
capitulation. This is partially due to the unspoken - (perhaps
imaginary) optimism that seems to lie beneath the surface of
Lenin's Iyrical alienation, but mostly it's just because the
songs are pretty damn catchy. Thus does "Destiny's Plaything," a
ditty about predestination and inevitability, wind up as a toe-tappin'
celebration rather than a mope-a-thon. Only the standard-issue
boogie strut of "Little Sister" and the bar-band workout "One
And One Makes Seven" fail to distinguish themselves.
The cover of A Life of Ease shows Lenin standing in front of a
yellow submarine, making it clear where the album's title
originates. If it seems incongruous to consider the notion of
livin' a life of ease against the backdrop of Lenin's square-peg
ruminations, you've forgotten the cathartic power of pure pop,
you big ol' Blue Meanie. When we close our eyes, time is so
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