There are two kinds of suicide rockers: the ones who sound like they want to (and eventually might) pull the trigger—or swallow the pills, or tie the noose—and the ones you sense have maybe already put down the gun, walked away and lived, the ones who couldn't do it. At the end of a particularly dreary bad day, it's the latter—the survivors—whose lyrics perhaps linger in your mind a little bit longer, if only because they're still breathing the same air you do. These guys aren't going anywhere, no matter how much they try, so their songs take on a sort of detached sadness and dead-inside hopelessness. Frank Lenz, OC's unbelievably talented, Eeyore-esque ("Thanks for noticing me") songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, is the master at this: VileLenz and Thieves is a 12-song gospel of loneliness, from the simple, slow guitar and piano on "Weekend Friends" ("Best friends on weekends/and holidays/regrets and secrets/for castaways/everybody runs/when trouble comes") to the striking emotional punctuation added by the string arrangements on "Bullets in the Wall" ("I've got no sense of distance/seems no sense at all/the snakes are all around me/with the bullets in the wall/maybe heaven's better/I've got no chance in hell/could be there's a difference/now I know that I can't tell"). Even "Lou Lou Bye," the album's lullaby closer ("Sleep, sleep/everything around you is lynchings and white sheets"), is a bit of a bummer. Then again, if it happens to be a particularly dreary day, that's probably exactly what you're looking for. Time to start the album over and grab another beer.
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