|The Rightful Pivot|
Enablers — The Rightful PivotLocation: San Francisco, CA
Album release: April 10th, 2015
Record Label: Lancashire and Somerset / Exile on Mainstream
1. Went Right 3:57
2. She Calls After You 4:31
3. The Percentages 3:40
4. Look 9:53
5. Solo 5:24
6. Good Shit 4:43
7. West Virginia 4:16
8. Enopolis 5:08
ΔΔ Joe Goldring Guitar,
ΔΔ Sam Ospovat Drums,
ΔΔ Pete Simonelli Words,
ΔΔ Kevin Thomson Guitar
ΔΔ Recorded and Mixed By Desmond Shea and Joe Goldring May/June 2014 at Coast Recorders S.F.
ΔΔ Mastered by Doug Henderson at micro–moose Berlin
ALBUM REVIEW BY WILL FITZPATRICK. PUBLISHED 09 APRIL 2015. SCORE: *****
ΔΔ Pete Simonelli is a remarkable wordsmith. Whether dissecting the discomfort of dysfunctional relationships, or simply amplifying the terror of a late–night encounter on the wrong side of town, the depth and detail of his spoken–word narratives perfectly nail the flipside of America’s airbrushed exterior: punchdrunk, bruised, and grimly poignant. Mirroring his performance–poet mastery of cadence and timing, Enablers' well–travelled musicians whip up a storm of post–rock dynamics that emphasise his undertones with power and dexterity, often adding up to majesty.
ΔΔ The nimble, spidery patterns of She Calls After You are tender and mysterious; an appropriate echo of the subject matter’s post–coital awkwardness (“You’re less a presence / Than an urge to be moving on”), with this softness often a precursor to jagged, Slint–ish crunches. The best is saved ‘til last, however — Enopolis’ layered textures underwrite a spirited percussive chaos, stabbing and slashing at fractured bleakness to create something uniqely resonant. Both gut–rupturingly visceral and cerebrally complex, Enablers are a remarkable band. ΔΔ http://www.theskinny.co.uk/
By: Jamie Jones, Released on February 7, 2015 via Exile on Mainstream
ΔΔ A new Enablers record is as much a literary event as it is a musical one. On The Rightful Pivot the Slint–esque post–rock backing is the same as it ever was, but the spoken word vocals have a little more clarity and focus than previously. These 8 deliciously vivid vignettes may not sound much different to the rest of Enablers’ back catalogue, but then Enablers don’t sound much like anyone else either.
ΔΔ Entirely spoken word songs are, for the few bands that write them, something of a novelty, something to break up a record or an often foolhardy attempt to get experimental. It’s a risky gambit, particularly for the vocalist — suddenly their lyrics are laid bare, naked and under scrutiny. When it works well, like Slint’s ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ or ‘Good Morning Captain’, you wonder why bands don’t do them more often. When it goes wrong you start to feel grateful for the over–abundance of instrumental bands in the world right now.
ΔΔ If you’ve ever craved a band that did what Slint did on those Spiderland tracks and took it in weird and wonderful narrative directions you’ll probably already be aware of Enablers. And if not you might just have found your new favourite band. This is the fifth record they’ve released, though it might be more accurate to call them audio compendiums of microfiction or musical prose poetry anthologies rather than records.
ΔΔ Their sinuous guitar arpeggios recall Slint as well as Shellac or Fugazi, stretched out and sedated, with eerie delay and reverbed passages weaved in and out to add texture. Vocally they sound like a recording of word–jazz artist Ken Nordine reading an anthology short stories by beat writers. It’s an odd mix, and one that some quickly (and wrongly) dismiss as a novelty.
ΔΔ They’ve been remarkably consistent for the past few records, which is both a virtue and problematic. The guitar fills swell and release along with the pace of the narrative in ways which sound perfect the first time you hear them — but it’s a formula with narrow parameters that they rarely deviate from.
ΔΔ There are few surprises to be had on Enablers albums. There are a couple of exceptions however on The Rightful Pivot; for the first time we get a little bit of actual singing on the sublime album centrepiece ‘Look’, and on ‘Good Shit’ singer/writer Peter Simonelli tries to do a bit of (admittedly dodgy) accent work. However if there is a consistent change in their approach to be found it’s a subtle one — there’s a little of a stripping back on the writing, the language a little more minimalist in places.
ΔΔ Previously his prose has sometimes been overly verbose, occasionally happy to lean on the rhythm of the piece the breadth of his vocabulary at the expense of narrative clarity. They got away with that because his voice sounds like an overflowing ashtray; a low, melodious rumble that could sound malevolently compelling reading through a phone book. It’s the kind of voice where even when your comprehension slips the words to blur into a graceful melange, the melodious cadences and timbre oddly relaxing even when it carries with it more than a hint of menace.
ΔΔ With a more sparse approach more than ever Enablers live or die by the quality of singer/narrator Pete Simonelli’s writing. Thankfully he’s an impressive wordsmith, portraying a cast of no hopers and down and outers living their lives less than well with a novelist’s ear for detail.
ΔΔ On ‘She Calls After You’, a vividly cast scene of the afterglow and aftermath of a one night stand (or maybe a one last fling) he demonstrates that even when playing it simple he can juxtapose blunt matter–of–fact statements with more elusive, suggestive phrasing to great effect, “You fucked each other and dried out in the light of day/you must get in the car and drive/and wait for the moment you forget what day it is/and what you did not say.”
ΔΔ It’s hard to judge where The Rightful Pivot stands in the Enablers cannon, as musically it’s a slow evolution for them at best, but it’s fair to say they get better as storytellers with each passing record. And if they never bother to change significantly it’ll be no sad thing at all. Writers like these would probably be loathe to use a cliché like, “if it ain’t broke…” but they’re also smart enough not to try and fix it. ΔΔ http://echoesanddust.com.previewdns.com/
Words: Ivan Deasy
|The Rightful Pivot|