Gifts From Enola
"Loyal Eyes Betrayed the Mind"
par pesama za poslusati na majspejsu a album se lako pronalazi (ili mejl)
Marko Nikolić, prijatelj, pisao za Popboks:
Progresivno je bila ključna reč kojima su opisivane umetničke težnje većine rock umetnika pre sada već skoro četiri decenije. Podeljeni u dva nepomirljiva tabora, od kojih je jedan težio tehničkoj savršenosti i grandioznim komadima težeg zvuka, a drugi eksperimentu i snazi umetničkog izraza, njihov ''sukob po notama'', sa ove vremenske distance, neodoljivo podseća na rat empirista i racionalista u sferi filozofije, koji se odigrao nekoliko vekova ranije. Kao i u potonjem slučaju, i na rock nebu istina je bila na sredini, ako sudimo po uticaju koji su oba kraka izvršila (vrše) na generacije muzičara koji su stupili na scenu nakon njih.
Prelaskom alternativnog rocka u korporativne vode, početkom devedesetih javlja se novi pojačani interes za instrumentalni rock, u čijem se jezgru nalazio termin postrock sa svojim progresivnim težnjama. Pionirski radovi bendova Slint, Tortoise i Labradford na početku poslednje decenije prethodnog veka poslužili su kao osnova koju su grupe poput Mogwai, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros i Explosions In The Sky razvili u uzbudljivim i neočekivanim pravcima, a kao zajedničku tačku imali stvaranje atmosfere povišene emocionalnosti bazirane na stvaranju specifične tenzije i do tada nečuvenoj upotrebi tišine.Na prelazu milenijuma, novi potpravac koji u sebi sažima iskustva postrocka i metala u pretežno instrumentalnom obrascu dolazi u žižu interesovanja. Vizionari poput Blind Idiot God, Neurosis, Fucking Champs i Isis doprineli su stvaranju scene koja iznova iznenađuje svojom vitalnošću i kvalitetom, koji bendovi poput Pelican, Cult Of Luna, Russian Circles i Dysrhytmia, između ostalih, poseduju u vrlo respektabilnoj dozi.
U tom nizu Gifts From Enola, bend iz Virdžinije, poslednja je značajna karika. Enola je ime američkog bombardera koji je bio aktivan na kraju Drugog svetskog rata na području Hirošime i Nagasakija, te nam, u tom duhu, na svom prvencu četiri doskorašnja tinejdžera isporučuju zvučne projektile u vidu pesama s nuklearnim punjenjem.Od uvodne Behind Curtains Closing postaje jasno da se nalazimo na teritoriji koja se nalazi tačno na pola puta između postrocka i težeg zvuka, pri čemu nijedna od sastavnih komponenti na preteže, već se one nalaze u balansu, prožimajući se i nadograđujući jedna drugu. Eterični pasaži u najboljoj tradiciji postrocka na tragu Explosions In The Sky neosetno se transformišu u punokrvna hard rock krešenda, bazirana na uzbudljivim gitarskim duelima, večnoj borbi melodije i snage razarajućih rifova, čiji se koreni mogu pronaći u muziciranju grupa Isis i Pelican ali i The Mars Volta, čime se stvara impresivna zvučna slika, koja ne gubi na intenzitetu zahvaljujući svojoj svežini i onom neizrecivom što sačinjava identitet nekog benda.
Ako se uzme u obzir da su članovi benda sami producirali i izdali album, to još više ide u prilog činjenici da smo suočeni s jednom od najvećih senzacija sezone: zvuk, naravno, nije savršen, ali to ostaje u drugom planu imajući u vidu količinu energije, stepen inventivnosti i eksperimenta na ovoj ploči. S lakoćom prelazeći iz žanra u žanr i dosežući čak i do neke varijante trip-hopa, na albumu nema ponavljanja i svako novo slušanje predstavlja sigurnu kartu za vožnju ka neistraženim destinacijama. Od svih, odličnih, epskih tema na albumu, ovom prilikom ćemo izdvojiti In The Company of Others i Screaming At Anything That Moved kao vrhunske estetske egzemplare utisnute u ovu ploču.
Sva je prilika da je Gifts From Enola novi bitan bend, od koga se može mnogo toga lepog očekivati u bliskoj budućnosti. S producentom u studiju i izdavačkom kućom iza sebe, momci su kadri da se umešaju u borbu za sam vrh, pošto im po prikazanom potencijalu prvoligaški status ni u kom slučaju ne dolazi u pitanje. Do mečeva lige šampiona, uživaćemo u ovom snimku.
-- odlican album imho. bez zamerki.
sta kazu na Silent Ballet
"Perhaps the most striking thing about Gifts From Enola is the band's young age. While not a single member has broken out of the undergraduate ranks of James Madison University, they're the front-runners for the "Yndi Halda" award of 2006. Bestowing the "Release of the Month" title upon them is nothing to sneeze at considering that The Mars Volta and Red Sparowes both released new albums this month, but Gifts From Enola certainly have tackled quite a behemoth with its debut album and although the band doesn't compare to TMV's technical proficiency nor Red Sparowes' daunting presence, there is definitely something to be said for coherency in 2006. Besides, the sleekness of Loyal Eyes Betrayed Our Minds alone deserves some serious praise.
If it wasn't enough that this quartet has only recently left its teenage years, it's pretty miraculous that the entirety of the album was recorded in a dorm room (at JMU) and completely mixed and mastered by the band. Unfortunately no one in the band goes by the name Steve Albini, so Gifts From Enola score some major D.I.Y. points while simultaneously managing a full university workload. As one might expect, at the end of this critique it would be very easy to sit atop of my high horse and proclaim, "although the conceptual aspects of Gifts From Enola's music are near spotless, the production value does knock this effort down a notch or two," but such a criticism is surely nit-picking. Anyone who is at all accustomed to listening to independently minded artists won't find the sound quality anywhere out of the ordinary on Loyal Eyes, and since instrumental music has been largely founded on such ideals, it would seem quite odd to suddenly start making such brash comments. Still, the naysayers will always harp on something, so we'll give them that.
Onto the album itself, Loyal Eyes can most accurately be described as a concentrated blast of instrumental rock with heavy rock tendencies and small dabblings in experimentalism. Surely Gifts From Enola is not the first forward thinking instrumental rock band, and of late we've seen several US bands emerge with very aggressive appetites with increasingly small metal influences (Shelter Red, Irepress). Yet, this niche in the music world was nowhere near perfected, and Gifts From Enola are making some major strides by making some very subtle post-rock infusions and instilling its music with the "epic" quality that had been so intricately removed during the "cock rock" parade. Undoubtedly this draws some Explosions in the Sky influence into the fold, but those Texans have (ironically) never rocked this hard.
From a critical standpoint, an instrumental rock album must contain three key components to really stand out. It first must succeed in grabbing the listener's attention. On first glimpse, this seems almost trivial to state, but in comparison to other instrumental genres (post-rock, neo classical, chamber rock, etc.) this is really a defining feature of instrumental rock. These bands receive the "rock" tag because they are loud, aggressive, and commonly employ traditional "rock" structures to motivate their tracks: intros and outros are generally kept short, breakdowns are utilized in all their destructive glory, guitars drop much of the ambient sounds for jarring riffs, and long, brooding soundscapes are offsetting to the momentum of the music. Secondly, repetition must be kept to a minimum. Again this seems almost too obvious to state, but many instrumental rock bands make a journey from post-rock into instrumental rock and much of the repetitive nature of post-rock is carried into the foreign terrain where it is not needed. Often when an instrumental rock band ventures off into seven or eight minute compositions the tightness of the track is compromised by bloated soundscapes and redundancy. Hence, it is key to bring a large amount of variety to the table; this is especially important because instrumental rock bands generally don't stray too far outside the guitar/bass/drum setup and whereas post-rock bands get away with repetition by sheer brute force of layering, an instrumental rock band has to work hard for diversity. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, an instrumental rock band must prevent itself from becoming exhaustive. Due to the rather energetic nature of its music, instrumental rock doesn't have the momentum to carry itself through a 79-minute album. It does take quite a lot of skill to construct a 60+ minute album and keep the listener engaged (assuming you grabbed its attention in the first place!), and instrumental rock is not one where this had been done successfully. Keep it under 50 minutes if possible, and try as hard as possible to let the diversity of the work propel the album through that time span.
Unsurprisingly, Loyal Eyes Betrayed Our Minds is a shining example of what all instrumental rock bands should be doing. Gifts From Enola juxtapose elements of post-rock with a large hard-rock mindset and then allow an experimental bent to soften the edges. Structurally Loyal Eyes covers all the bases. Some songs explode out of the gates with blistering intensity and then recede slowly back into the sonic landscape with a timid disposition. Other times the band waits for the dynamic breakdown and sets the scene up with calm waves of ambience and scant field recordings. The longer tracks on the album "City Lights Scraped the Sky" and "Screaming at Anything that Move" see the band doing its best post-rock impression, undulating through passages densely populated with guitar riffs and those which contain only the solo beat of the drum or lone picking of the guitar. I find these two tracks to be the most indicative of the band's future; not only does the band break the mold and deliver the lengthy song in a digestible form, but we also see them delving into a slightly jam-oriented act. Had this been taken to its logical conclusion Loyal Eyes would liken have been ruined by the intangible meanderings of a reckless band. However, Gifts From Enola stay enough in form to keep the track moving along smoothly and this conscious move is a spectacular dessert to an already hearty meal.
I'd be lying if I said that Loyal Eyes didn't contain that spark that makes you want to listen to it repeatedly ad nausea. These four young men have a passion about the music they're creating that really makes the album an enjoyable experience. At the core of it, that’s really what music is all about. Youth often boils music down to the essentials, and Gifts From Enola shows exactly how captivating that can be.
As is generally the case with hit debut albums, what can we expect from the next effort from Gifts From Enola? It’s safe to say that the next album will be more mature (conceptually and physically) and maybe these guys will find a nice label that will want to throw them into the studio to get some “proper” music recorded. I’d hate to see this band become too polished; it’s rough exterior adds a lot of character and depth to the music. I do fully expect the band to flush out some of its experimental leanings that are approached every so timidly in Loyal Eyes, and the addition of some more instrumentations could add some flair to the band’s sound. The future is looking bright for this Virginian band.
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