Review Summary: It was the best of us...
1986: Troubled times once more came to be an acquaintance of The Enid – the band, despite the financial support of The Stand - the band’s fan club - and many others who greatly supported the band's endeavors, the band were bleeding money faster than Great Depression-era Wall Street. A novelty single released at this time was released and produced, quite literally, by hard times. Along with the monetary crisis the band faced, Robert John Godfrey and Stephen Stewart were at odds with how they wished to continue as musicians – the former wished to expand upon his musical career, branching toward as many genres as he could, while the latter wanted to devote his time to studio engineering. Therefore, the band's demise was set in motion – the seeds initially sown with solo projects, and this divide in their wishes it looked as if The Enid were once again done for, and this time it seemed for good.
Throughout 1987, the duo worked endlessly on their final effort, ”The Seed and the Sower”
, loosely inspired by Laurens van der Post’s novel of the same name. With knowledge this would be the final album with Stewart, the duo greatly expanded the line-up, bringing in four new members to add to the duo’s sound. With this addition to the line-up, there were now less synthesized sections as there were in the past two albums, thanks in no part to the inclusion of uillean pipes, played by new member Troy Donockley. ”The Seed and the Sower”
was the final phase of the growth of The Enid – gone were massively synthesized compositions, and in place were multi-layered, exotic pieces that seemed more “developed” and “natural” than before. Not only this, but it was mostly a return to the instrumental-only style of the first incarnation (with the exception of two tracks, ’Longhome’
) – the band had come full circle.
Consisting of only five tracks, all of which are longer than seven minutes, this is one of the lengthier Enid albums. Track after track, the masterful compositions laid out by Godfrey and Stewart shine through – this album is quite unlike the others, an entire new beast. Tracks such as ’Chaldean Crossing’
heavily use percussion and vibrant guitar work as its selling point, including a motif that is spread throughout the fifty minute-long LP. ’A Bar of Shadow’
accommodates the uillean pipes greatly, adding a touch of texture to the track yet complimenting the oriental style of the track as well. ’Longhome’
, the penultimate epic of the album, builds and builds as it goes on. This track is the absolute highlight of the band’s skill, and most possibly the apex of the second incarnation; Godfrey’s vocal and keyboard work, as well as Damian Risdon’s percussional chops, are top notch here. There’s not a misstep to be heard. The grand finale, a send-off of sorts to Stewart, as well as the farewell to the fans – ’Earthborn’
, sung by the late Geraldine Connor, is an emotional, although calm, finale. The motif featured throughout the album has been leading up to this point, all for this one track that would signal the end of the band’s very existence. This not only showed the duo’s compositional prowess, but that even in the end, they could deliver a masterpiece to go out on. Godfrey retrospectively once said of the album: ”It was the best of us.”
After a tour and a two night stand at the Dominion Theater in November 1988, The Enid was effectively no more. Deceased. Inanimate. Kaput. Deceduto.
What was next?
After the breakup of The Enid, Godfrey pursued new musical endeavors of many kinds, from solo work to collaborating with young musicians in the U.K. electronic scene – the most notable of these experiments would be the next Enid incarnation, known as “Enid”. In 1989-90, the first release by this version of the new band would be a electro-dance remake of ’Salome’
, backed with a remix entitled ’Salomee’
. The future for Robert John Godfrey was uncertain, but with fresh blood and a new band, there was something to be done.
To be continued…?