When an album arrives on your desk is so good that despite having a promo copy you immediately go out and buy a vinyl copy as well you know it must be something special. Gifts from Enola play a unique brand of heavy post-rock that sees them veer between the heavier elements of Mogwai and sonic youth and the more ethereal moments from Isis and Neurosis.
First track Lionized is the perfect introduction to the album – a hypnotic and heavy beat propels swirling, psychedelic guitars before a satisfyingly chunky riff takes over, quickening the pace and getting the blood pumping. Jazzy, metallic and extremely interesting Gifts from Enola immediately mark out their territory as band with talent and inspiration to spare. Following such a perfect introduction is never easy but the stately groove of ‘Dime and suture’ does a great job as the cleverly interwoven guitars drag the listener in and the pounding beats give way to a more progressive, spacey dynamic. The musicians are, without exception, exemplary and the ideas shooting out of each song are enough to provide most bands with several albums over, let alone one song.
As if to utterly confound expectations ‘Alagoas’ surf is on a wave of Hawaiian surf guitar before an oddly syncopated beat shifts the track into another dimension completely. It’s beautiful, relaxing song that sees the addition of quiet vocals that recall nothing so much as long-lost art-rock/indie legends Deus who used to specialise in this kind of arty weirdness. Of course, this being Gifts from Enola, it’s never quite that easy and the whole track expands into a glorious wave of sound that leads you nicely into ‘Grime and glass’ – a fractured, punk-infused attack on the senses filled with jarring rhythms and taught angular guitar that echoes the mighty Fugazi on their ‘Instrument’ soundtrack. Standing entirely at odds with the majestic ‘Alagoas’, ‘grime and glass’ is a highlight of this excellent album and it will thrill anyone who loves Sonic Youth but wishes that they’d occasionally go for the jugular rather more than they do.
Final track ‘rearview’ brings this all-too-brief album to a close with a wall of echoing guitar and a monstrous bass sound that is destined to sound amazing live. A coiled, slithery track that slides in and out of the listeners reach – it is on ‘rearview’ that you truly appreciate the Gifts from Enola have set a new standard for largely instrumental post-rock. And with that, the band leave you, aching for more but equally over-awed that a band can come together and produce something quite so thrilling while barely approaching the microphone – it’s like the first time you heard Mogwai’s ‘King herod’ or Isis and just like those bands Gifts from Enola make it all sound so effortless. Not a beat is wasted nor a riff over-milked – everything here serves its purpose and evaporates before you have a chance to fully appreciate the brilliance of what you’ve just heard.
This is an album to be treasured, savoured over and over again and shown off to friends whenever you can corner them. Utterly engaging and simply brilliant there will be few releases this year to match the beauty and sonic power of Gifts from Enola. Available either in a digi-pack or on double vinyl (clearly the better option) and for a low price from the mylenesheath store, there is no excuse not to track this amazing work of art down. Simply stunning.