by Steve "Tappy" Lanning


Mon Oct 6

Lola's Room

The most excellent and best gift a friend can give is a carefully crafted mix tape; a lovingly chosen medley of music. But mix tape making is, of course, a delicate art form. One must look for song compatibility, and a good mix tape must be coherent.

Enon has just made about the best mix tape you could ask for--and it's their new record, Hocus Pocus (Touch & Go). Some writers have criticized the diversity of Hocus Pocus, saying it lacks focus. I say: "Variety is the spice of life!" While the songs on Hocus Pocus don't all sound the same, there is a thread that runs through the tracks and ties the record together. Every song is connected by its compelling duets and energizing transitions. Like a mix tape, where transitions can be abrupt, most of the movements on Hocus Pocus are sudden. For example, as the drums fade out on the first song, "Shave," a slow electronic number, Toko Yasuda's vocals give way to the band's second singer, John Schmersal, and a jolting guitar riff that starts the second song, "The Power of Yawning." While this transition is abrupt, it creates a great energy. By the time track three hits--a dark, electronic rock song, "Murder Sounds," where John and Toko duet--it's clear the content on tracks one and two have led to the third.

Stylistically Hocus Pocus is an umbrella, under which beat-heavy, dancehall-influenced songs (like "A Daughter in the House of Fools") or riff-rocking tracks (like the aforementioned "The Power of Yawning") huddle. From tender guitar ballads to electropop, it's got everything you'd ever want, and on one record!

I asked John Schmersal how he's reacted to criticism of Hocus Pocus. He answered, "If you listen to all of our records, you see the balance of things. I mean we could make a more homogenized sounding record, but I think that would just sound boring."