We’ve Been Talking is the eagerly anticipated debut album from Wicklow post-rockers Enemies. The album was officially launched last Friday the 11th June at Whelans but us sneaky Corkonians gone and grabbed ourselves a preview last Thursday when the quartet rocked the Quad bar with support from local heros Elk. I even managed to get my hands on a copy of the album, it was all very cloak and dagger.
It was about this time last year when I stumbled across Alpha Waves, the band’s first EP and was well and truly blown away. Post-rock and math-rock are two genres in which Ireland boasts an embarrassment of riches including household names such as The Redneck Manifesto, And So I Watch You From Afar and Bats, to name just three. With these genres so densely populated you’d have to wonder how any act can stand out from the crowd. In Enemies case it boils down to raw talent and a brilliantly polished sound, a sound which earned them a tour of Japan based on Alpha Waves alone.
As they rocked the Quad in a performance that bore the signs of the appetizer before Fridays main course it was undeniable that the new material represented a shift from what had gone before. Alpha Waves was a quint-essential post-rock release, it ticked all the boxes, the five tracks stretched out over thirty-six minutes with Out of the C clocking up 9.49. The EP is a feast of crescendos served on a bed of upbeat pick-tapping which bares utmost fidelity to post-rocks tendency towards build-climax-rebuild progressions.
I wondered whether it was merely the volume of the live performance masking the bands customary intricacy, but the album confirms a slightly different direction. In a test of duration We’ve Been Talking beats Alpha Waves by a mere two and a half minutes despite having four more songs. Enemies have traded in the seven minute epics for shorter, dancier and catchier (can instrumental songs be catchy?) tunes. It’s not that the guitar signatures are any less carefully crafted rather they’re designed to create songs which encourage you dance like an idiot rather than stand perfectly still in awe-induced paralysis.
The album has a remarkably uplifting sound which permeates through each song, ‘Nag Champa’ and ‘Fierce Pit Bosses’ would make fitting inclusions on a soundtrack for a Ned Flanders biopic. ‘Gingerly’ and ‘We’ve Been Talking’ are two short beauties in the middle of the album which portray a previously absent appreciation for simplicity. We’ve Been Talking jigs and reels its way along nicely and is already raising its hand for inclusion among the best Irish releases of the year when we encounter ‘Creamist’, ‘Piano’ and ‘Morse Code’ the LP’s final and strongest moments. The dual drumming on ‘Piano’ engages perfectly with the noisey guitar and probing bass while Morse Code again deploys two drum kits before a raucous display of guitar-tapping and symbol crashing brings the curtain down on a brilliant album.
Elk’s performance on the night can’t go unmentioned, the trio have just finished recording thier latest EP and based on first hearing the songs seem to retain the characteristic energy while bringing other elements to the table, daycint.