Enon achieved most of their success once Toko Yasuda joined for 2002's High Society, but it felt like there was unexplored mileage in the skronky yet catchy sound they pursued on their debut album, Believo!, which they recorded while Skeleton Key's Rick Lee was still a part of the group. Crooks on Tape reunites Lee with Enon founder John Schmersal, and the group's first album, Fingerprint, often feels like it picks up where Believo! left off. Some songs, like the album opener "Duper," recall how Enon sometimes sounded like a half-speed version of Schmersal's earlier band Brainiac in their rattling percussion, tweaked falsetto, and rubbery synths (minus, of course, the inspired insanity of late singer Timmy Taylor). The results of a couple of years' worth of free-form jams edited into quirky sound sculptures, Fingerprint makes the most of Lee and Schmersal's willingness to hunt for the weirdest sounds possible and then put them in the hookiest songs they can write. It's a tricky balancing act, and while they nail it on songs like the dramatic, sparkling "If Feelings Mean a Thing," the dreamy mirage-pop of "Summer's End," and the funky yet spooky groove of "A Hazmat Dream," every now and then Fingerprint meanders. Still, the album offers plenty of vivid reminders of how kinetic and entertaining the pair's music is, whether on playful sketches like "Tito's Riser" and "Milo's Creeper" or more fully formed songs such as the driving "River Bait" and the Krautrock-tinged "Wandered Again." Fingerprint is a welcome return from a pair of veteran sonic explorers, and a welcome introduction to where their heads are now.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares