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

Gifts from Enola

Gifts from Enola (2010)

The Mylene Sheath

Just a year after post-rockers Gifts from Enola impressed with the subtly experimental and stormy tendencies of their sophomore LP, From Fathoms, the band return to unleash a self-titled full-length followup that picks up where that album left off, while changing some things in quietly progressive ways.

The band previously made its buck on cool, fake climaxes, some mathy moments and sparse electronic bits. Gifts from Enola, however, feels a little bit stripped-down and inherently more busier and active compared to its predecessor. Opener "Lionized" seems to get to the point much faster than both the style's inhabitants and perhaps anything in GfE's own catalogue, getting in an early narrative hook that feels a pinch more post-metal than usual before building into a more spacey, bustling moment that wouldn't be out of place on a record by their labelmates Junius, while indistinct, frothy screams clutter the jaunty "Dime and Suture," giving the album a little something extra early on to cling to.

"Alagoas" is a hell of a centerpiece. It begins by finding a neat rhythm to lock into, with vaguely surfy guitar tones that resemble Cave In's "Tides of Tomorrow" and some muffled spoken-word in the Envy realm. Then, it suddenly clicks with this interesting moment of tension about halfway through or so with some building percussion and guitars, hitting its own more unique stride with a super upbeat, driving lead riff and even some vicious screams set wayyyyy to the background that give it this curious contrast you have to really concentrate to recognize. As this happens, the energy level starts to suddenly ramp up and the drums push it into some excellent stop-starts that finish the song with a sudden rush of controlled dynamics.

Closer "Rearview" seems to touch upon that possible Cave In influence again, mixing in a horror chord-esque '90s hardcore riff with spacier textures. It's awesomely heavy, but the band don't depend on it for long, finding more twinkly, atmospheric post-hardcore territory at one point with a head-bobbing bass riff weaving in and out; a Thursday comparison feels lazy, but when the murmured vocals come in, it definitely sounds like an idea that band could have came up with in the last four years.

While I don't think Gifts from Enola have quite composed their Earth Is a Cold Dead Place or F#A#∞, they've proven to be a sound and reliable act that mixes in influences with their own creative touch rather well and with a consistency that's unparalleled by, well, most of their peers.

Gifts from Enola