Enon

High Society

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Enon's second album, High Society, is something of a homecoming for the band. Dave Sardy's See-Thru label issued their debut, Believo!, but for their follow-up, the group moved to Touch & Go, the home of John Schmersal's former band Brainiac, as well as that of Blonde Redhead, of whom Toko Yasuda used to be a member. Similarly, High Society sounds like a more focused combination of Brainiac's spastic geek-rock and Blonde Redhead's more delicate, poppy moments. Though they may be more focused, Enon will never be straightforward, but that's one of the band's, and album's, strengths. In the first four songs alone, High Society spans the driving, garagey rock of "Old Dominion," the weirdly brooding "Count Sheep," "In This City"'s sleek synth pop, and the jangly cuteness of "Window Display," which sounds like a cross between Preston School of Industry and Magnetic Fields. Believo! was also admirably eclectic, but High Society is both more versatile, and more successful in its versatility, than Enon's debut. A large part of this is due to the addition of Yasuda, whose voice and synths add a new dimension to the band's sound, particularly on showcases like the pretty, and pretty weird, new wave buzz of "Disposable Parts" and "Shoulder." Solid songwriting also anchors High Society's sonic trickery effectively, making it interesting decoration instead of the album's main attraction; relatively poppy tracks like "Sold!" and "Natural Disasters" sit pretty comfortably next to the wigged-out "Native Numb" and "Pleasure and Privilege," which should satisfy any Enon fans looking for a fix of Brainiac-like freakiness. Equally impressive, though, is the album's title track, which gives a playful nod in the direction of the Left Banke and the Kinks at their chamber-poppiest. Just as expansive and experimental as it is streamlined and melodic, on High Society Enon's contradictory style makes perfect sense.

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