- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 1, 2002

High Society
(Touch and Go Records}
With the word "indie" so often carrying connotations of artsy seriousness, it's nice to see that the latest hip indie album is seemingly all about unadulterated fun.
Enon's "High Society" is a catchy, addictive twisted pop pleasure filled with songs that will make you hit the repeat button on your CD player again and again. The trio is the brainchild of John Schmersal, whose previous band, the electronic-experimental Brainiac, was disbanded after lead singer Tim Taylor died in a car accident.
Enon first gained notice with 2000's "Believo," which garnered small but favorable critical attention. "High Society" should only add to the accolades. More structured and straightforward than Mr. Schmersal's past would indicate, "High Society" uses a variety of sounds, ranging from trashy keyboards to blistering guitars along with various blips, bleeps and samples to record music that is simply candy for the ear.
Highlights abound on the 15-song disc, but Mr. Schmersal is at his best when he flirts with pure pop bliss. Listen to the meandering "Window Display," the quick-paced and almost new-wavey "Natural Disasters" (which will lock the words "birthday cake, steak and wine" into your head for days) and the even more catchy "Sold," whose glistening keyboards combine with a heavier backdrop and perfect lyrics to produce a succinct, melodic gem of a tune.
With more rocking tunes such as "Leave It to Rust" and "Count Sheep" as well as the eerily elegant title song included on the disc, "High Society" has a little something for everyone. If you don't mind taking your pop/rock with a bit of a twist, Enon should find a place at the top of your summer listening list.
Enon plays the Metro Cafe on Monday. Joe Schaeffer

While You Weren't Looking
(Yep Roc Records)
Alt-country bands seem to have wonderful afterlives. Uncle Tupelo broke into the critically acclaimed groups Wilco and Son Volt, and Whiskeytown seems to be taking the same course after its breakup in 1999. Frontman Ryan Adams broke into the mainstream last with his second solo effort, "Gold," and his violin-playing bandmate, Caitlin Cary, is now following with her first full-length effort.
The record kicks off by highlighting Miss Cary's delightful soprano as it stretches to its limits on "Shallow Heart, Shallow Water," the first of many tunes co-written with former Whiskeytown bandmate Mike Daly. The ghost of Whiskeytown actually haunts much of the disc, as multi-instrumentalist Mr. Daly lends a hand on eight tracks and singer-guitarist Mr. Adams on two.
The unifying force is Miss Cary and her rather laid-back approach to songwriting. Most of her tunes do not focus on her violin skills, but instead put her voice front and center, letting her plaintive vocals carry the ballads. This approach makes for some beautiful arrangements, but also accounts for more than a few dull spots.
Putting those moments aside, the disc has a number of beautiful songs. "Pony" is an unusual country-folk ballad that features a magnificent violin solo by Miss Cary and well-timed hand claps. Much has been made of Mr. Adams' hurried approach to songwriting compared with Miss Cary's more deliberate approach, and "Pony" is a shining example of why this unrushed style works so well for her.
In fact, the record actually gets better on the latter tracks, with the country blues number "Too Many Keys" and the marchlike, country tempo that starts off "Hold on to Me," a song that alternates between country playfulness and slow, impassioned harmonies. Like Mr. Adams, Miss Cary is still developing as a songwriter, but fans of Whiskeytown can be assured that at least two of its members have the ability to be strong talents on their own. Derek Simmonsen

Deep in a Dream The Ultimate Chet Baker Collection
This album contains some of the troubled jazz great's best recordings.
From the opening notes of "My Funny Valentine," we hear a trumpet style that reflects a Miles Davis coolness, but is tinged with an almost heartbreaking melancholy. An ominous and eerie foreboding, perhaps, of a life characterized by both artistic genius and personal torment from drug addiction. (Mr. Baker died in 1988 after falling from a window in a drug-induced haze.)
Mr. Baker's frail and vibrato-less tenor, though limited in range, is at times so poignant that listeners can conclude that his suffering colored his art in a way that's truly beautiful and poetic. Associated Press

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide