Gifts from Enola - From Fathoms (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Gifts from Enola

From Fathoms (2009)

The Mylene Sheath

Gifts from Enola compose some stormy, watery post-rock with From Fathoms, their second full-length. That's not to say this is a watered-down representation of the style, but rather the sort that cascades, flows and abrupts unpredictably to both immediate and lasting effect.

Like early This Will Destroy You, the band often like to fake early climaxes, with a sudden rush of sound swelling only a minute into opener "Benthos" and followup "Weightless Frame." But things gradually dial down so things can be built back up again, with an eclectic ambition at that. The act's mathy tendencies is present in "Benthos," as a jarring change occurs just prior to the three-minute mark before guitars collide and froth, with gravelly screamed vocals, utilized in incredibly sparse portions, emphasizing the tension. Electronic machinery ticks and clicks for "Weightless Frame," like a sedated 65daysofstatic, before ominously gut-wrenching and prickly acoustic layers make up a mid-section that gives way to overcrowding noise and ambience.

From Fathoms, at least as far as the first half is concerned, seems to largely succeed because it takes so many subtle chances and they often work mesmerizingly. "Weightless Thought" actually kicks it off with a somewhat dance-y indie rock beat that sounds an awful lot like "The Red Bedroom" off No Knife's Riot for Romance!, and proceeds with some duel guitar riffing and intermittent layers of spacey sound. "Trieste" has the closest thing to a repetitive groove before metallic thuds punch through a few minutes in; the rest of its 12-minute course is interesting, though not quite as much as From Fathom's other mentioned moments.

That actually might be the point where From Fathoms starts to struggle a bit. The second half isn't quite as alluring, as much as more simple, "straightforward" patterns, methods and natural explosions in "Melted Wings" and "Thawed Horizon" work nicely just as they are. Dialogue sound bites do help "Thawed Horizon" become a bit more entrancing.

Nonetheless, a little front-loadedness isn't enough to totally damage From Fathoms. A very compelling sophomore LP with lots of successful ambition and enlivening moments, Gifts from Enola has done well here and likely produced one of the more notable releases of the style this year.