Saturday 28 July 2012

Mark Lenover - The Wreckage

Album review by KevW

From Syd Barrett to Daniel Johnston to Elliot Smith, the annals of music history are littered with musicians who've battled with mental illness and in spite of (and often because of) it have created some incredibly powerful and emotional records. Ontario singer-songwriter Mark Lenover had already made several albums before being diagnosed with schizophrenia in the last couple of years. His latest album 'The Wreckage' documents this period, his diagnosis and the struggles and treatments he's endured in order to keep his condition under control.

Of course if you were to listen to this album without knowing about his personal turmoil you probably wouldn't find the need to look for a diagnosis, although it's clear that many of these songs deal with emotional struggles and the confusion and pain that can come with life. So this isn't a party album, yet it is an inspirational and occasionally uplifting one. If you avoid delving into the lyrics and concentrate on the music you'll find complex and inventive indie-rock, but nothing that wildly breaks from the norm. 'An Indelible Stain' sounds like a disturbed track and the maudlin 'The Plagiarists', despite its almost sprightly twinkle, also feels pained.

Song titles speak for themselves ('Always Take Your Medicine', 'Down'), however if 'The 'Wreckage' is listened to objectively it feels accomplished, intricate, personal, confident in its sound and lyrically confused and seeking answers, in much the same way that so many people in their 20s try to make sense of the world and its strange unsettling ways and seeming lack of a set plan. "Give me a sign" he cries repeatedly on 'Vampires'. While bravely tackling his own problems, Mark Lenover has made an album that sums up the disorder and confusion that confronts most people at some point in their life, and, objectively speaking, 'The Wreckage' is a commanding and intense chronicle of the human condition in general.

Mark Lenover's website

Stream or buy the album

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