The Enablers - Blown Realms and Stalled Explosions
We’ve all been there, some backstreet music bar. On entering there’s the bass thud of live music resonating along the floor from the back room. You go in and find a band you’ve never heard before in mid set. The band know what they’re doing and you’re starting to get into their post rock stylings. The lead singer walks up to the mike... and starts talking. Your immediate response might be to back out the door - but should you? It’s this scenario The Enablers place us in with this album. The band tick all the guitar-led post-rock boxes but the spoken word vocals add another dimension. Do they place the lyrics closer to poetry and if so how does that balance with the music?
From the San Francisco area, The Enablers have, since the release of their first album End Note in 2004 striven to determine their own musical path. Careful textured arrangements driven by guitarists Kevin Thompson and Joe Goldring together with Doug Scharin’s drumming are overlain by Pete Simonelli’s prose. Just as the music ebbs and flows, Somonelli adds passion and emphasis to his words when needed. There is an argument that the spoken word approach is a barrier to the listener - that it changes the relationship and could see too much emphasis placed upon the words which might escape such analysis if sung. Fundamentally, impassioned speech can just come across as shouting.
Returning to the original question, standing in the doorway of the music bar, pondering whether to stick around or leave requires a conditional response. You should enter the gig and listen to The Enablers and their thoughtful well crafted music. In the end though, you may struggle to make a connection that would see you return.