Saturday, 23 November 2013

Enablers - Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions

The following review is the first in a series in which Hugh Deasy and I play a game of musical ping-pong. We essentially introduce each other to an artist or band with the aim of writing up a review of one of their albums without any prior exposure to their music. It's like a semi-retarded Last FM session between a post-modern, hipster Beavis & Butthead.

This week, Hugh, the cheeky fucker, decided to pass me a brick instead of a basketball. I've been on quite a Powerviolence buzz as of late, so anything that even implies a melody sounds completely repulsive to me at the moment. Somewhere, in the nebulous cavern of his mind, Hugh knew this. That is why he recommended that I listen to Enablers.

Hailing from San Francisco, this experimental quartet deliver the kind music that gives you a hit of acid, a deep tissue massage, takes you outside and beats the living shit out of you and all the while talks you through the process like an annotating surgeon.

Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions is the casual intercourse between instrumental rock and the spoken word. It is, by nature, an anti-capitalist form of music. By that, I mean it is not a disposable record by any means. It's not an album you can listen to once, say "Oh yeah, I know those guys" and then change the conversation. There's no instant gratification, it takes time. Something that demands your close attention, that you read into and gain something from it.

The sounds are diverse, from moody, nervous post-rock to spectral psychedelia. Tracks like "Cliff" and "Morandi: Natura Morta, No. 86" transport you to dreamy landscapes that leave you just lucid enough to keep grounded and enjoy Pete Simonelli's lullaby vocals. "Lullaby" being the key word here as the music itself can make you feel reposed, suddenly attentive, and then eased once more.

Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions

What struck me most about this album was its unpredictability, especially pertaining to its latter half. You are seven tracks in and have experienced somnambulant bliss, not background melody by any means, but settling opiate jazz. Then, suddenly, "Rue Girardon". A heavy wake-up call, a change in tone that unearths a violence that may have always been there, something that went unnoticed.

We complete our journey with "A Poem for Heroes", where Simonelli's peaceful, dispassionate vocalizations coalesce with one final harmonious instrumental drone. Closing the book on an album that will either enthrall or paralyze you.

I approached this album with skepticism. It is most certainly not my cupán tae, but it is an experience all the same. Something adventurous and something that certainly shouldn't be overlooked. Do not let the premise of the album intimidate you, just go with it, man.

Enablers' Bandcamp and full album:

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