Here’s a reprint of my review of the new Enemies record that ran in last fortnight’s Hot Press.
Embark, Embrace (Heavyweight Records)
Key Track: ‘Nighthalks’
KILCOOLE QUARTET CRAFT GAME-CHANGING RECORD
It’s certainly no secret that some musicians struggle when it comes to making a second record. Instrumental, post-rock bands in particular tend to have trouble keeping that spark of excitement and invention alive and end up being eclipsed by newer, fresher, and usually louder acts as a result. With Ireland swarming with a multitude of groups from that aforementioned genre right now, album number two from Co. Wicklow’s Enemies was always going to be a game-charger for them, one way or another. Happily for the quartet, Embark, Embrace is a massive step up for the band and sees them buck that difficult second album syndrome with glee and over the course of ten tracks they announce their return in an often mesmerising fashion.
Taken as a whole, the opus is a starry-eyed, sci-fi spectacular which sounds almost like an futuristic, alien lullaby in places. Opening with the glockenspiel-led, ethereal ‘Intro,’ a guest vocal (yep, vocal) from the Cast Of Cheers’ Conor Adams on ‘Executive Cut’ tells us that all bets are off from the get-go and from there we’re treated to a spiralling soundtrack which features plenty of guitar heroics (minus the shredding) on the likes of ‘Beacher,’ emotive, grandiose threnodies (‘Moesha,’ ‘North West’) and there’s even some slightly gothic-y goings on ‘Nighthalks,’ which has some frighteningly good spectral vocals courtesy of Heathers. Imbued with an infectious, relentless positivity throughout, Embark, Embrace is a deceivingly delicate record that will take you on a trip you’ll want to repeat again and again and it’s sure to win Enemies plenty of new friends over the year ahead.