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Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds

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Album Review

On Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds, Enon's first proper album since Hocus Pocus, straightforward is the new strange. The trio puts aside the pixilated, eclectic style of earlier albums for most of these songs, focusing on cranked-up rock instead. It's a pretty big change, but not an entirely unwelcome one, since sometimes Hocus Pocus and High Society teetered on the edge of becoming too precious. Sometimes, Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds' streamlined approach works wonderfully: "Mirror on You" just might be Enon's most danceable song, with seemingly endless reflections of Toko Yasuda's voice stretching out into the distance and hand claps up front. "Mr. Ratatatatat" is shouty and surreal, and "Pigeneration" proves that Yasuda's delicate voice can stand up to grinding guitars and gurgling synths. Too often, though, Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds' simpler arrangements and songwriting just don't fit the band all that well. The loose ends in Enon's songs used to be just as appealing as the hooks; here, tracks like "Dr. Freeze" and "Those Who Don't Blink" are a little too samey to rank with the band's best work. Enon allow themselves a little more room for experimentation on the album's second half, and the results are better, or at least more interesting, than what came before. "The Law of Johnny Dolittle"'s noise-saturated duet is one of the few times where the band lets loose and it makes an impact; "Paperweights" turns rumbling noise and synths that sound like whining drills into one of the album's catchiest songs, and the exotic "Labyrinth" and spooky, almost trip-hoppy "Ashish" give Yasuda perfect foils for her singing. This flurry of creativity helps redeem Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds, and there are more than a few bright spots, but unfortunately, this is one of Enon's slightest and most uneven albums.


Formed: 1999 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Enon is the trio of John Schmersal (who was involved with Brainiac and John Stuart Mill) and Rick Lee and Steve Calhoon (both of Skeleton Key). Like groups such as Olivia Tremor Control, they're interested in exploring that wide territory between pop/rock songs and noise, employing a wealth of samples, industrial sound processing, and percussion that veers toward crockery-smashing murkiness. Not as inclined toward melodies of the 1960s and '70s as groups like Olivia Tremor Control are, there are...
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Grass Geysers...Carbon Clouds, Enon
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