Plumbiferous Media

Gifts from Enola – Gifts from Enola

Jul 29th 2010
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Gifts from Enola - Gifts from EnolaGifts from Enola
Gifts from Enola
Score: 72

Virginia post-rock band Gifts from Enola, founded in 2005, released their fifth album, the self-titled Gifts from Enola, earlier this month. With Gifts from Enola, the band has further developed its rich instrumental sound to create an energetic, tightly-packed album which, while suffering from certain less-than-exciting sections, is generally quite interesting.

Gifts from Enola does a very good job with the construction each of its five tracks, as well as the elements from which they’re constructed. Creative instrumentals, including excellent percussion, are mixed across a number of both discrete and carefully woven layers to create the album’s complex sound. The band does a good job of varying their approach, especially between tracks. This is made even more beneficial to the overall sound of the album through careful use of transitions, which allow for near-seamless travel between tracks.

Along with the band’s main instrumental styles, the band includes certain quite different interludes and elements. These regrettably include the ill-advised vocal integration of tracks like “Dime and Suture” – but also significantly better chosen sections, such as the excellent closing section of “Lionized,” which uses a echoing version of 40s style music to lend a new atmosphere to the track.

While Gifts from Enola is certainly an interesting album, a number of flaws prevent it from being excellent. Most important of these flaws is the variability in quality along the album. Certain sections are excellent, displaying the perfect mix of the band’s instrumental contributions. However, it’s regrettably common for those excellent sections to be followed by or even surrounded by much less interesting parts. While repetition leading up to a grand crescendo is quite common as well as quite commonly well done in post-rock, in a number of places on Gifts from Enola it seems more like mediocre sections are simply being over-repeated to set the stage for the excellent sections. This repetition isn’t helped by very long tracks, which, while also a staple of the genre, on Gifts from Enola seem to lose steam – not at the end, where they generally exit with their greatest energy – but at various places along the way.

Gifts from Enola is largely instrumental, with a few notable (and mostly regrettable) exceptions. As previously stated, one of these is “Dime and Suture”‘s underlying vocal portion, which is best described as “metal-styled.” However, instead of providing the short digression from the band’s normal methods that you might expect, this and other such sections (which are admittedly generally lower-key than that on “Dime and Suture”) distract the listener from the band’s instrumental strenghts, redirecting the music in a way that does little to improve it.

Given Gifts from Enola‘s flaws, it is not quite an excellent album. However, thanks to a great deal of creativity on the part of Gifts from Enola, both in the construction of the album and in the contributions of each of the band’s members, it is certainly an interesting one. Though Gifts from Enola suffers from a number of weak sections, those sections which are successful are generally quite successful, such that the album is, by the end, certainly more good than bad.

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