Unlike all that silly electroclash novelty-act nonsense, you can
actually dance to the recent release from Enon, Hocus Pocus
you can actually dig this. Well, I can, anyway. Because the
way they bring together shiny synth pop and jangly post-punk has
nothing to do with kooky fashion statements, artsy snobbery or retro
fixation. Instead the NY trio are focused on their music
(whodathunk it?) and Enon write some sincerely badass songs.
The new album swings like a pendulum from playful dance beats, cutesy
female vocals and spacey synth effects to feedback-drenched,
guitar-heavy rock fronted by a raspy male singer. And it does so with
such affection that the unique power of their contagious, inventive
sounds cannot be denied. Sure they're able to simultaneously satisfy
multiple sides of genre lines, but what really matters here is how
they convince the rock-lover to groove to the electro-beats and the
dance-lover to dig their raw, garage sounds.
Embracing a different approach with each track on the 13-song album,
it's impossible (on first listen) to predict what's to come next. The
band proves it can cover it all and cover it all downright
Hocus Pocus opens with bubbling, warbled beats and childlike,
fragile coos from lead vocalist/bassist and keyboardist Toko Yasuda
before bursting into old-school break beats and distant synth cries
the feeling is at once innocent and dangerous. Taking no time
to introduce itself but getting right to the point, the rumbling
Sonic Youth-inspired "The Power of Yawning" speeds along happily with
fuzzy riffs, guitar rants and whiny croons from the band's other lead
singer and guitarist/keyboardist John Schmersal.
The sluggish, Hendrix-influenced "Storm the Gates" is down-tempo,
sludgy and emotional; it is perhaps the saddest of all the album's
songs. Infiltrated by that heavy, heavy, bumpin' bass reminiscent of
your neighborhood's low-riding thug, the minimal "Daughter in the
House of Fools" takes the most advantage of that big beeping,
bleeping toy, squirting out quirky noises and summoning severely
infectious melodies led by Yasuda's playfully sexy wails. Conjuring
The Cars, the spastic "Utz" blasts with loads of energy and
in-your-face guitar while the closing title track whispers atop
acoustic guitar before turning sour, like it lost its mind amongst
dissonant instrumentation and chaotic intentions, then returns to the
passionate, delicate sing-song it began with.
Playing perfectly for any setting, any mood, Hocus Pocus is
the perfect tool for genre dissolution not because Enon
invented a new one but by reminding you why they needn't exist.
Forget the genre-defining superficial bullshit good music,
like Enon's, blasts that all away while dishing out a passionate and
colorful variety of sounds.