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splendid > reviews > 7/10/2002
Enon
Enon
High Society
Touch & Go


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "High Society"

Buy me now
While it didn't come as a huge shock for anybody to hear that See-Thru Broadcasting had gone the way of the dodo, it was at least somewhat alarming for folks to hear that Enon, the label's resident press darlings and sole commercial hope, were now without a home. Fortunately, the altogether more durable Touch & Go Records had their ear to the ground, and snatched up the genre-bending trio toute suite, making certain that the group's next album would not only get a proper release, but the attention it (more that likely) deserved.

Touch & Go's release of High Society marks a homecoming of sorts for the group (bandleader John Schmersal's former group, Brainiac, released a clutch of albums for the label in the mid-'90s) while at the same time ushering in a new era of Enon's existence. Sure, they still sound like every notable band from the '60s and '70s rolled into easy-to-handle, fuzz-encrusted nuggets of whimsical pop excess ("Diamond Raft" and "Window Display" cut particularly striking figures), but there is a seething vitality now lurking behind their music that makes the seemingly perfect oddball pop confections of Believo! sound positively child-like by comparison.

High Society is instant vintage, a record whose thoroughly modern sound owes a huge debt to the sonic fortitude of yesteryear. They prove not to be the most patient of souls; as the album progresses the band swerves recklessly about the musical highway, veers straight into the '70s power-pop panache of "Old Domination", honks the horn vigorously at the campy, new-wave workout "Native Numb" and comes damn near a head-on collision between Blondie and the Troggs with "Natural Disasters". Yet, for all the divergent styles and blatant hero-worshipping to be found on High Society, the group never sounds derivative or misguided -- a rare feat, proving that despite numerous comparisons, Enon have indeed carved out their own fractured and unique musical identity.

It's not quite old and it's not quite new, but one thing's for certain: everybody from ditch diggers and fry cooks to high-powered attorneys and corporate CEOs will enjoy Enon's new vision of High Society.



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