Stagnant Pools

Temporary Room

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Stagnant Pools is the work of two college-age brothers from Indianapolis, Indiana. Bryan and Douglass Enas took a couple of Joy Division records, the first Strokes CD, a few Ride singles, and a nasty-sounding guitar pedal or two down into their parent's basement and emerged with their debut album, Temporary Room. It's a claustrophobic and hypnotic dream/nightmare pop record built around Douglass' pounding drums and the unceasing waves of Bryan's guitar onslaught. On top sit Bryan's disaffected vocals and that's all. No bass, no keyboards, little or no variation in sound or dynamics. It shouldn't work; the record should be a monochromatic blur that makes no impression and fades away in a haze after one listen. Amazingly, the songs are so catchy and the mood the brothers create is so all-enveloping that it doesn't matter that all the songs sound the same, that the guitar settings never waver, or that the drumming is rudimentary at best. The murky intensity, the subtle undertow of passion, and the calm melodic strength of Bryan's vocal lines all combine into an unstoppable force that starts to bowl you over after a song or two. As the record plays out and you are drawn deeper into it, the minute changes in sound become heartstopping, the slight shifts in tone loom larger and larger, and the rare, almost happy-sounding moments are like the sun breaking through the clouds after weeks of gloom. By the end, the album becomes a very powerful experience that holds together as the best albums should. Temporary Room is the kind of album you can only make at the beginning of a career. It sounds unaffected by external elements, untouched by expectations, and totally the work of two brothers bashing it out alone. In other words, there is a purity to their sound and vision that gives the album its power. They may never do anything this true to their vision again but that's OK. The brothers Enas have created at least one record that will stand the test of time, and that's more than most bands can ever hope for.

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