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Enon: Split Personality

 
story by tim mcmahan


 

 

Lazy-i: October 8, 2003


Enon
w/The Close, 1989 Chicago Cubs
Monday, Oct. 13
Sokol Underground
13th & Martha
$7


Want more Enon? Check out the June 2005 Lazy-i interview with Enon's John Schmersal.

Enon's story is that of two bands and two sounds, whether you're talking about the past or the present.

When the band broke through with its first full-length, Believo! released in June 2000, their sound was decorated with a curtain of noise that often hid melodic diamonds in the rough. The mad musings of Brainiac's John Schmersal and Skeleton Key's Rick Lee and Steve Calhoon had a beating heart under a thick mucilage of distorted electronica.

Three years later, the distortion fog has lifted on the band's just-released full-length, Hocus-Pocus. In fact, Enon is altogether a different band from those Believo! days. Though it still features Schmersal, the trio now includes bassist/vocalist Toko Yasuda (ex-Blonde Redhead) and drummer Matt Schulz. Gone are the gritty noise garnishments, replaced by clear-headed electronic pop, as bright as a bell and twice as piercing.

Schulz, who joined the band after Believo!, says the shift to simpler sounds was a natural progression that became galvanized with 2002's High Society. "With that CD, it became more about the songs," Schulz said while driving the band's van from Houston to Norman, Oklahoma between gigs. "It was about finding the space for everyone and really trimming the fat. It became a matter of recording the songs and realizing what needed to be there and what didn't."

"What didn't" included an extra member, as the four-piece became a trio with the departure of Steve Calhoon after High Society. "As a four-piece, there was a lot of fighting for sonic space," Schulz said. "We've now evolved into a more streamlined unit. We have more freedom as a three-piece, and more space to fill."


 

 

 

That freedom has resulted in a natural division in the band's music, split between tracks sung by Schmersal and those sung by Yasuda. On Hocus-Pocus, released in early September, the division is stark.

Yasuda tracks such as the CD opener "Shave," quirky, rhythm-fueled "Daughter in the House of Fools" Japanese-flavored "Mikazuki" and no-wave bouncer "Monsoon" are exercises in electronic, dream-pop walk-way music reminiscent of slick bands like Hooverphonic. Meanwhile, Schmersal-led guitar tracks bring the rock, from the ironically titled "The Power of Yawning" (which sounds like it was lifted from the last Spoon album) to the laid-back burner "Storm the Gates" to the punk sendoff "Litter in the Glitter." It's as if the CD has brought together tracks from two different bands.

With two prolific writers, Schulz says Enon already has music ready for three more releases. "Things are always getting recorded, even when we're on the road" he said. "It's a mobile recording situation. We place a song-of-the-month on our Web site and are always doing singles."

They're also always touring, including a recent outing with Omaha's electro-pop masters, The Faint, just last spring. Schulz said expect a straight-up rock show when the band rolls into town Oct. 13. "We don't have any pyro and we don't wear make-up or funny outfits," he said. "It's all about the presentation of our music."


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Published in The Omaha Weekly-Reader Oct. 8, 2003. Copyright 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 


"We don't have any pyro and we don't wear make-up or funny outfits."