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Enon - Lost Marbles And Exploded Evidence

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Artist: Enon

Album: Lost Marbles And Exploded Evidence

Label: Touch and Go

Review date: Mar. 8, 2005

Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence collects six years worth of singles, compilation appearances, and website-only releases from Enon, finally giving 16 seldom-heard tracks the chance to hit the marketplace. While it’s definitely not a best-of, it pretty much constitutes a career-spanning retrospective. The oldest track, “Fly South,” was recorded in April 1998, while the most recent, “Knock That Door,” wasn’t finished until last summer; in between, each song helps chart the band’s development. The tracks are not arranged in any sort of chronological order, but the liner notes have some helpful pictorial annotations: the oldest group of songs is marked with a frog egg, the next oldest with a tadpole, slightly more recent songs with a tadpole with legs, and finally the newest songs with a picture of a fully-grown frog. The pictures are just a throwaway joke, but they provide an interesting frame of reference. There are no mistakes or missteps here, just a band caught up in the inevitable process of becoming….well, I suppose the Brooklyn electropop band that they’ve become.

Perhaps there’s some all-encompassing theory of the development of Enon that connects their earliest experiments in noise with the dance-floor ready art rock of High Society and Hocus Pocus, but a few listens to Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence are all that’s required to notice that their current, audience friendly sound represents a break from harsh early material like “Fly South.” While suitably ominous and unpredictable, those songs stand in the shadow of Brainiac, the indie rock outfit that John Schmersal was a part of in the mid-’90s.

There are a few songs on this compilation that have that sort of experimental feel – brief songs like the 38-second “Normal is Happening” or the one-minute “Blow Infinite Ways” – but now a more typical Enon song would be “Knock That Door” or “Evidence,” the song that gives the album one-half of its title. Combining noise, a pulsing disco beat, playfully literate lyrics like “lazy as an ism / marking up your feet / crazy like a vision / in the desert heat,” into a three-minute whole. While not purposely inoffensive, exactly, the salient feature of Enon’s work is stubborn exuberance, a desire to be whimsical for whimsy’s sake. There are stray noise samples and complex percussion, and Toko Yasuda’s lyrics occasionally run towards social satire, but nothing liable to put a stop to the dance floor. Enon may want to be an art band, but they’re too fashionable to set anybody to worrying about whether their songs offer any kind of commentary.

Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence isn’t as consistent as a full-length album, but rarities collections are usually of limited interest, anyway. The standout tracks never quite rise to the level of past album singles like “In This City,” and much of the middle section of the album – when, to throw in a cheap metaphor from their frog illustrations, the band was finding its legs – seems like the same repeated a half-dozen times. Fans might enjoy the history lesson, while non-fans are probably better off waiting for the next full-length.

By Tom Zimpleman

Other Reviews of Enon

High Society

Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds


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