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"I'm into it, but I wish that it felt like it was a little more viable, because it's not like I'm working for Cartoon Network or somebody," he goes on. "I work on things that don't really exist. I like writing these songs, but I wish it were a little closer to what you might imagine. I think our music is way more off-the-cuff and crazier-sounding and more cartoonlike than the songs I'm actually writing for cartoons."
He's right: Enon's music could be the soundtrack for a dark dance club in some cartoon parallel universe. High Society is a 41-minute, 15-song, surreal tour encompassing straight-up rockers, big-keyboard pop songs and fun-house experimentation. Experimental but not indulgent, the songs don't pussyfoot around: They appear fully formed, explore the tensions of technology and organic sound, lay down a few hooks and disappear.
Schmersal's slurry, unaffected but often treated vocals range from song to song, adapting to enhance the environment. If comparisons must be made, his voice calls to mind midphase Lou Barlow or even (eek!) Beck.
In the past, vocal duties were handled solely by Schmersal, but on Society, there are more colors in Enon's palette, thanks to Yasuda's stylishly girly voice. Yasuda, ex of the art-rock discord masters Blonde Redhead, allows Enon to stretch into new territory. In fact, some of the album's best tracks are skewed '80s, big-keyboard, melted dance numbers with Yasuda on lead mike.
"Carbonation," a nasty, catchy pop number sung by Schmersal, is a good metaphor for the use of samples and treated sounds that permeate this release. They bubble past, adding to the texture, but they don't feel like studio gimmickry or a musical crutch rather more of an accent.
From solo project to touring act to trio, Enon is now the product of a collaborative process. "If anybody has an idea," says Schmersal, "show your idea and take it to its logical course, and if your idea runs out of steam, and you basically don't know where else to go with it, then other people get to have their input about it. We've been pretty lucky. Usually the feeling's pretty mutual about stuff. It has been a pretty easy collaborative process."
While collaborations are okay, there is another tool many bands use to create new songs, and Enon is not fond of it. "We don't usually jam out our songs very much, and I think that not jamming actually makes the songwriting process go faster," Schmersal explains. "I mean, a lot of bands are really good at jamming, mind you, maybe it's more organic. But I think it takes longer to write songs by jamming, usually."
And just in case you were thinking about dropping the name Enon on your less musically endowed friends, here's a little guide: Enon named for a town just outside of Dayton is not pronounced e-NON but more like E-nun. This according to whoever answered the phone at the Enon Government Center, in Enon, Ohio.
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