Review Summary: Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards and seal the hushed casket of my soul...
Less than a year after the release of Touch Me
, The Enid were once again in the studio, recording their fourth album, Six Pieces
. In fact recordings took place with the band knowing that they would not have any financial backing from the label to promote the album, this become the band’s first self-funded album. This would become the standard for the band, and still is to this day. Furthermore, the album was a departure from the lengthy pieces, with short, independent works taking its place. Once again, The Enid put forth a concept album (loosely speaking), this time about the band members themselves.
Opening the album is Punch and Judy Man
, a schizoid piece of music, features the band at their rockiest, and is as close as the band would come to being actual progressive rock. A notable feature is the odd prominence of drums, supplied by newcomer Robbie Dobson. Once She Was
, the band’s interpretation of Scarborough Fayre (a traditional Yorkshire ballad), is marred by bland synthesizers, though it manages to pick up in the second half of the track. The Ring Master
, while playful in melody, plods along for six minutes. The circus-themed track simply fails in capturing the interest of the listener, something rare for The Enid.
, a religiously themed piece, has a heavy Vangelis influence to it, rather than the usual classical inspiration that is commonplace on The Enid’s albums. Hall of Mirrors
, the climatic piece of the album, hints at the use of an orchestra, though the piece is dominated by lush guitar work. The Dreamer
, opens with layered effects akin to Albion Fair
, though it is more percussive this time around. The main theme however, is what the title suggests, with everything moving at a languid and mellow pace. Nowhere to be found is the heavy percussion and the clashing of instruments, but only the marriage of the solemn keyboards and mournful guitars. It is the apex of not only the album, but of the original incarnation of The Enid.
As it was during the recording of Touch Me
, Six Pieces
was a rushed recording, even more than it was last time. It would be the last album the band would record for Pye Records, as they’d be dropped soon after the release of Six Pieces
. Not long after that, guitarist Francis Lickerish would unsuccessfully try to take artistic control of the band. This would result in his departure, taking keyboardist William Gilmour with him in the process. For the time being, the loss of two vital band members would signal the end of The Enid.
To be continued...?