September 25, 2003

Test Spin: Enon

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It’s hard not to divide Enon’s songs into two camps: the ones where John Schmersal sings and the ones where Toko Yasuda does. I know I do. Adding Yasuda for 2002’s High Society gave the band a new dimension. Her songs, which have a much different sound from Schmersal’s, further enhance Enon’s eclecticism, perhaps their finest attribute.

Yasuda more than holds up her end of the bargain on Hocus Pocus. “Daughter in the House of Fools” possesses a certain catchiness that Yasuda’s High Society songs didn’t have. On “Starcastic,” where she and Schmersal combine forces, Yasuda displays more vocal range than she’s previously shown. Not to mention, her bass playing has improved.

Schmersal is less consistent, but his high points are still poignant. “Storm the Gates” and “Candy” build up to anti-climactic choruses, both of which disappoint considering how good those of “Window Display” and “Sold!” were on High Society. But Schmersal finishes with a flurry of powerful rockers. On the later songs, his vocals regain their passion, and his guitar solos are fuzzy, concise, and effective. Enon has also devised a clever chorus-to-solo-to-chorus formula which they use as a method of closing their songs, and it never falters.

Although Hocus Pocus gets off to a slow start, it gains momentum all the way to the end, where the title track lulls you to sleep in its dreamy ambience, a lull that leaves you wondering where Enon will take you next.

Archived article by Ross McGowan