Embark, Embrace

Written by: JWM on 05/09/2013 22:46:38

Out of all the music that comes out of Ireland, there are two styles which I personally think stick out: the boy bands and the really good math rock bands. The latter group all started because of Wexford born Adebisi Shank, musicians with as much of a taste for chaos and technicality as they had for bounciness, electronica and pop. And this leads us to Enemies, formed just one county away from Adebisi in Wicklow they have released their second album "Embark, Embrace" and it is stunning. That love for bounciness, electronica and pop I just mentioned is much more in focus with Enemies' style. Stylistically "Embark, Embrace" is a tranquil blend of math rock and post rock, something I noticed as they shoot familiar memories of Duck. Little Brother, Duck! (DLBD!) through me. But although they lack the weird twinkly emo and underground punk influence of DLBD!, both bands understand the value of adding a catchy bounce to your math rock passages.

Opening with the haunting and beautiful chimes of a glockenspiel and soaring chants, the band creates a calm, but textured atmosphere for "Executive Cut" to readily take the stage. Their style is epitomised, as guitars noodle innocently over a bouncy drum beat and more chanting which could make you visualise being at an open air folk festival: just swaying innocently as the minutes fly by. However some songs oppose such imagery like "Unit Shifter" and "Beacher"; the tone of these songs is far more like a basement setting as guitarist Eoin creates resonating chimes during the verse, which are contrasted by distorted guitar riffs in the break.

After track four "Beacher" I started to grow concerned by what I was hearing, all the bounciness was there, as was the tranquillity, but I started to feel the album suffered from a lot of filler by the mid point. This doubt, however, was silenced by the subtle and excellent "Moesha". The powerful effect of the innocent glockenspiel notes produced a great and chilled out lounge effect. I think it is almost impossible to actually stay angry after listening to this song as it is just so damn positive - As is most of the album.

This is perhaps the most calming and positive math rock album you've ever heard and its merits reside within those charming attributes. If I were to nitpick however I would say the album lacks any kind of stand out moment. It's only until the sounds of "Moesha" or the moody post-rock of "NorthWest" that actually made me sit up in my chair. But that being said; maybe that's pretty normal for an instrumental album?


Download: Moesha; Northwest; Executive Cut
For The Fans Of: Minus The Bear, Duck. Little Brother, Duck!, Adebisi Shank
Listen: Enemies on facebook

Release Date 20.08.2013
Topshelf Records

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