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Without a Bark - EP

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Album Review

Following up on his collaborations with Funkstörung, Munich-born Enik took his solo bow with the brief Without a Bark, a mixed bag that shows both promise and puzzlement at the same time. Part of it definitely has to do with his singing, which can be unexpectedly affecting and strange, as on the opening "Micro Ocean." His quirky, breathy way around soul vocals sometimes trips him up, especially on "Tired Heads," perhaps because of the quite beautiful opening arrangement that favors his singing; yet here he sounds like a cross between a male Björk and a villain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (not necessarily a favorable comparison). Crucially, his music, helped with some fine strings arranged by Hans Tauscheck, shows that he's not afraid of pop, with clipped post-Timbaland beats and cascading electronic vocal treatments that perhaps owe a little to Daft Punk. Enik's own claims of inspiration in the form of David Bowie and Tom Waits can also be heard — in the vocals for the former, the prominent piano for the latter — "How to Destroy" could almost be a combination of the two, and there are enough glitches, clicks, and sharp, solid beats to mark this as a 21st century effort, while "Diamond City" overtly plays a Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill-tinged cabaret card. The slow, lounge-keyboards-gone-soporific bass introduction of "Chaos the Drug" is perhaps the secret standout, leading into another great rhythm punch while Enik's vocals slur and swerve through the mix. It could almost be a more experimental analogue to something from JC Chasez's solo debut. If Enik finds a way to balance out his stranger impulses with a touch more focus, the results could be quite something.

Without a Bark - EP, Enik
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