Review Summary: An unfulfilling conclusion.
By looking at his albums chronologically since The Empyrean
, you can see that a release as arcane as Enclosure
has been increasingly inevitable. Judging by the snippets of interviews and posts on his website it was both necessary and fitting for John Frusciante to bookend his journey into electronic music by crafting his most left field album to date, with Enclosure
acting as “the achievement of all the musical goals I had been aiming at for the previous 5 years.” EP Letur-Lefr
was bright and bubbly, accurately capturing the feelings of joy one might associate with grasping the basics of a musical instrument for the first time, while full length successor PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone
was a more obscure affair; balancing the winsome spirit of Letur-Lefr
with the esoteric nature of acid and electronic music. Whilst Enclosure
was undoubtedly the logical finale to Frusciante’s electronic adventure it isn’t a satisfying one, and the special ingredient which permeates all of his previous work is frustratingly absent here.
Now there is something to be admired in a man who refuses to play it safe, after all, just where do you go after releasing four albums in a year and following it up with a progressive rock masterpiece? John Frusciante chose to lay down his guitar and delve into the obscure, to become pupil rather than master once more and experiment with a whole new world of sounds previously unavailable to him. For the notion alone he should be lauded, but the execution of these ideas over the past 5 years has been surprisingly lacklustre, and by once again failing to control the delicate tug-of-war between guitar and keyboard, much of Enclosure
Regardless of the style of music he’s played Frusciante has always crafted moments of great beauty which stir, like the second half of “Central,” the smooth back and forth on “Omission,” the organic “Murderers” or the ethereal “In My Light.” Those emotional heights are never scaled here, and though he does come close to brilliance a couple of times – most notably on “Sleep” and album closer “Scratch,” Enclosure
is a largely tepid affair. Scattered drumbeats which create uneasy atmospheres are paired with synth lines which perpetuate them, and this combination is used excessively throughout. Serving only to stem any flow the songs build, they curb almost any memorable moments in the process. Where choirs were used to great effect on both Letur-Lefr
, they fail to evoke anything when utilized on “Fanfare” by hiding too low in the mix, whilst his usually strong instrumental tracks also come up short, as despite its layers “Cinch” feels utterly flat.
is a bland, unfulfilling conclusion to an ambitious learning curve, and it’s an album which all too often reminds you of just how brilliant and efficacious Frusciante can be as a musician - but never because of its own greatness.