Friday, June 26, 2009

Gifts From Enola explore the depths with 'From Fathoms'

Gifts From Enola are an instrumental post-rock outfit from Virginia comprised of five or six members (depending on who's counting) who specialize in intricately arranged, guitar-heavy rock ranging from chugging metal climaxes to delicate, spacey interludes. The band created some buzz with 2006's Loyal Eyes Betrayed the Mind and now they're back with From Fathoms, an eight-song, 57-minute odyssey that should have fans of the genre enraptured with carefully constructed and skillfully executed movements constantly shifting and evolving in both style and intensity. Though music of this type isn't usually my 'thing,' I found From Fathoms to be a thoroughly fascinating and very listenable album that maintains my interest throughout its nearly hour-long duration.

Much of Gifts from Enola's appeal lies in their ability to create such a gargantuan and complex piece of music that maintains its accessibility while simultaneously providing a stimulating and occasionally challenging listening experience. The band's arrangements on From Fathoms are often noisy and dense, but rarely feel oppressive or heavy-handed, and the slower, more delicate sections of the album serve as both a respite from the din and as genuinely fascinating musical movements by their own merit. The album's centerpiece, the 12-minute epic "Trieste," best encapsulates the band's ability to deliver moments of thundering cacophony, while follower "Resurface" showcases the boys at their most hauntingly beautiful. It's a strange, engrossing ride all the way through the appropriately placed "Aves," the most emotionally triumphant tune of the bunch.

The more I listen to this record, the more I enjoy it, and I suppose with most instrumental albums that should be the case, but I've been pleasantly surprised to find how much I like listening to From Fathoms from beginning to end even after some intensive time with it prior to this review. I realize there's a good chance that I haven't properly described their sound, so check out the band on MySpace where you can hear a good chunk of the new album.