Enchanted 14 has a unique history. Originally formed in 1994 in San Francisco, they didn't actually release an album until 2010, after a 14-year hiatus. After their debut album, There and Back Again, singer Gina Robertson and multi-instrumentalist J. Christopher Thomas followed up with their sophomore effort, The World and Everything in It. This is a 6-song EP that consists of improved recordings from their debut album plus two new songs. They are accompanied by guests Ben Smith on drums and the string quartet, Quartet Evolution.
Citing influences as diverse as Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Enchanted 14 has pieced together various genres from modern rock to grunge to classic rock. The result is an enjoyable and skillful set of songs that will enlighten and enchant by turns. "Live Or Die" kicks off the EP and the energetic guitar licks catch the attention immediately. Robertson's vocals are sultry and have a haunting essence. Her voice is the perfect compliment to Thomas' blazing guitar work. The percussion is tight as well, and this is a great intro to Enchanted 14, especially the slow and melodic ending.
"Snow" has a slower tempo and listeners will get a better appreciation for Robertson's skilled vocal prowess. Lyrically, this offering is exceptional and fans will simply adore the honesty of expression that seems to come naturally to this band. "Surrender" is a melancholy piece with graceful guitar work, hauntingly beautiful lyrics, and an excellent vocal delivery. This song will send chills along the spine and make the heart yearn for all things lost and all things never found.
"Pollen" continues in this vein and if listeners haven't already got a fantastic appreciation for Robertson's skills as a songwriter, they will after this one. Her ability to openly and candidly bare her heart in the lyrics of these songs is enviable. This offering carries a bit of an edge and fans will be able to relate to the sense of frustration and anger that comes through intermittently. Instrumentally, this track is one the most intricate and highlights the creativity of all members of Enchanted 14. "Castles" is a more upbeat piece with a light, catchy rhythm. While there is a sense of melancholy nostalgia within this offering, it nonetheless carries a sense of optimism and hope.
"Wedding Day" is the most unique song on the album, instrumentally and vocally, and showcases the creativity of this band and their artistic essence. It is one of the most artful pieces of music of the modern day and the vocal harmonizing, sound effects and musicianship are all stellar. Enchanted 14's EP The World and Everything in It is truly one of the more intricate collections of songs that has come out in recent past. Robertson and Thomas are an excellent musical team with a fantastic supporting cast and this EP proves it.