As far as quirky goes, Enon are among the quirkiest. Mixing the spastic new wave punk of Brainiac with the silly trip-hop of Cibo Matto, they’ve come up with a style of music that’s been impossible to come up with a name for. And while their proper albums, like High Society and Hocus Pocus are pretty odd in their own right, their rarities are even more bizarre, showing a side of the band that dabbles even more heavily in samples and strange sounds, altogether. Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence collects 16 of these singles and unreleased tracks on one CD, resulting in a strange hodgepodge of some of the band’s quirkiest tracks.
What’s most immediately striking about these songs is how liberally they use well-known samples. “Knock That Door” borrows the bassline from “Another One Bites the Dust,” while “Adalania (Not So Fair)” takes a riff from The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” and a brief snippet of Gary Numan’s “Me, I Disconnect from You” is worked into “Normal is Happening.” I hope the Avalanches are up for some friendly competition in that department.
While the songs on this collection are characteristically Enon, there seems to be a dearth of the spastic punk songs that we’ve come to expect from the New York trio. Instead, the majority of the songs here are the sampladelic, quirky pop songs I hinted at earlier. “Drowning Appointments” is fun and funky, which will please many a listener’s hips. “The Nightmare of Atomic Men” begins benign enough, though ends in clattering industrial drums and odd string samples. “Tilt You Up!” is just as peppy as any of the material on High Society, though it breaks in the middle for some strange sound effects, exposing its b-sideyness. “Marbles Explode” is a frantic electro track that has distorted vocals and odd, Moogy breakdowns between the manic beats. And things just keep getting even more surprising and fun from there.
The diversity of tracks on Lost Marbles is interesting enough to keep a casual listener pleased from beginning to end, but for those expecting a little more rock with their quirk, well, sorry — maybe next time. Regardless, Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence shows that Enon’s imagination is so far-reaching, that even their throwaway tracks are more captivating than many artists’ biggest singles. And as an added bonus, you get a DVD of the band’s videos and live performances to go along with the forty minutes of rare material. There’s no arguing with that.
Dismemberment Plan – A People’s History of the Dismemberment Plan
Enon – Hocus Pocus
Brainiac – Bonsai Superstar
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.