Enon
High Society


4.5
superb

Review

by Claire Q. CONTRIBUTOR (56 Reviews)
August 16th, 2018 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We live in a high society

Before Enon, guitarist John Schermersal was in Brainiac, who were something of a pioneer of weird. Lo-fi creaking and erratic Vocoder effects accompanied Tim Taylor’s maniacal vocals, all underlaid by noisy, gleeful irreverence and an eye for futuristic camp. The latter would carry over into Enon, and is present on High Society, but irreverence is by and large replaced with a disillusionment that is simultaneously jaded and bubbly. It’s hard to say whether High Society, released sixteen years ago, was prescient or not: its somewhat abstract tales of privilege, dysfunctional bonds, and social aspiration are as relevant as ever in an age of social media, but then obtuseness tends to render things more applicable.

On the topic of futuristic camp: High Society enjoys tumbling close to the uncanny valley, beaming eagerly with eyes too wide. Toko Yasuda’s light, girlish vocals are garnished with a slight robotic touch, the bubbling synths crunch and distort and evoke neon-coloured carbonated drinks. The bounce on tracks such as “Pleasure and Privilege” and “Disposable Parts” reaches near-preternatural levels. “Window Display”, at least on a surface interpretation, involves marrying a malfunctioning robot. One layer of High Society is relentlessly effervescent, adopting characteristics of what it lampoons - for instance, “Disposable Parts”, whether it makes fun of hook-ups or consumerism, is honeyed and short-lived.

The incisiveness of the album isn’t necessarily immediate, even if its disillusionment is: “In This City” circles restlessly, pushing forward the perspective of a distraught, alienated foreigner caught in the glare of a modern city’s nightlights; “Diamond Raft” echoes emptily and with resigned finality. Any uneasy artificiality on High Society is wholly deliberate, functioning as a part of its critique of disposability culture and social aspiration. “Sold!” is disquieting in its tale of deceptive marketing; “This business carbonation / less pop more fizz / coming over on the radio station”, “Carbonation” chants, whilst “High Society” is ambiguous in its stance towards a social climber: her act of “[paying] for dinner with $200 dollar bills” comes across unsympathetically, but the sheer emptiness of her life is pitiable. “Natural Disasters” more bluntly condemns the well-off; the plight of those outside the privileged bubble is attributed to natural reasons, becomes faultless and therefore not a moral imperative to address.

I think the album both adores and hates what luxury stands for: carefreeness, its inability to provide real fulfillment, the contemplation of finery and delicate things (see: the indulgent touches of strings and trumpet on the title track). That some can so easily possess an excess of such goods is construed as absurd, whimsical, a subject of both wonderment and disdain. The selfish figures, whose perspectives are satirically adopted, are almost lovingly caricatured, and the infectious hooks tend to soften the blow of the criticisms. In a way, High Society’s sugary aesthetics pay unironic tribute to the shallow pleasures of life, to the joys of downing a cool, refreshing can of Coca Cola™. But in the end, the apocalyptic “Diamond Raft” drops all pretence of enjoying modern life’s luxuries, and pops the last bubble.



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user ratings (17)
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excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2018


18434 Comments


We really do live in a (high) society...

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clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2018


835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it do be like that

SteakByrnes
August 16th 2018


14307 Comments


did you just fucking meme on my christian website

Digging: Ithaca - The Language of Injury

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2018


18434 Comments


Do you wish to be confined with the rats, Winston?

SandwichBubble
August 16th 2018


9250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did not expect this to ever get a review, what a day this is turning out to be

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Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2018


14139 Comments


natural disasters is a tune, never checked the rest of this tho

Digging: Comity - The Deus Ex-Machina As A Forgotten Genius (Andy Wa

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2018


24331 Comments


sounds weird, clean read Claire. you think id dig?

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2018


835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You might, it's a fun time

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2018


9441 Comments


brainiac is a recent dig (thanks to Ars).. will definitely check.. stellar review as per always..

Digging: A.R. and Machines - Die Grune Reise

BAT
August 16th 2018


436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really fun album from an overlooked band, i like yasudas stuff more than believo

Tyler.
August 17th 2018


16232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice!!!!!!!!!!! Natural disasters is my jam



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