On 2000’s Believo! and 2002’s High Society, spastic power trio Enon crafted some of the most inspired two and three minute new wave anthems since the turn of the millennium, as well as some of the most original and quirkily catchy songs of the decade. Though their aesthetic has always been a fractured and eclectic one, it’s resulted in some surprising and giddily enjoyable tunes. With 2003’s Hocus Pocus, however, their manic energy began to slow down in favor of trip-hop experiments, J-pop excursions and a much sparser use of distorted guitar. While still a pretty good album, it wasn’t anywhere near the frenetic hyperactivity of their first two, which may have been a gateway for some new fans, and a slight disappointment for others. Four years since, Enon’s gotten back to a somewhat straightforward new wave punk sensibility on fourth album Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds.
Though there aren’t quite as many surprises on Grass Geysers as there may have been in the past, Enon makes up for it with twelve songs that cut to the chase and rock harder than they have in quite some time. From Toko Yasuda’s trippy chant of “mirror, mirror…” at the beginning of “Mirror On You,” the band revs their rock ‘n’ roll machine into overdrive and charges full steam ahead, jerking and sputtering forth with the sort of energy that originally earned them such notoriety.
With “Collette,” Yasuda takes the lead in a song almost twice the length of “Mirror on You” (still just less than three minutes) for a furious and distorted, yet melodic joy. “Dr. Freeze” is no less noisy than any other track here, but constructs its ruckus from bizarre synth noises and fuzz rather than guitar feedback or distortion. John Schmersal snarls through the surf-inspired fuzz-punk of “Piece of Mind,” a track that rocks like a noisier version of The Pixies (particularly “Planet of Sound”), and even a bit of Schmersal’s old band, Brainiac. On the subject of The Pixies, the song that follows is titled “The Law of Johnny Dolittle,” though sounds considerably less like Black Francis & Co.
“Those Who Don’t Blink” speeds up the pace for a furious old school punk breakdown, all three-chord hooks and middle fingers, and it’s an awesome rush. By comparison, “Pigeneration” is less visceral and much more atmospheric, fuzz bass rumbling ominously as delay-addled guitar floats in and out, Toko Yasuda lending her melodic vocals for a sublime post-punk excursion. Penultimate track “Labyrinth” offers a turn away from the onslaught of screeching guitars and breakneck speeds, ominously waltzing along over a doom-laden landscape, ultimately climaxing in a chorus of guitar noise. Then closer “Ashish” does away with the distortion altogether for a pretty, subdued dream pop denouement.
While many of the graduates of Brainiac school of spazz-punk have since broken up, moved on or become less interesting, Enon shows with Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds that they’ve still got the old spark in them, as they well should. Schmersal was a part of Brainiac, after all, and Enon has only furthered the evolution of the jerky, erratic punk song in the process.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.