When it comes to alternative music in Ireland, there an abundance of choice. One such area where there appears to be no shortage is instrumental rock. With the likes of Adebisi Shank, Redneck Manifesto, And So I Watch You From Afar all flying the flag for those without vocals, it was easy to overlook Wicklow band – Enemies. But over the course of their debut LP, the four-piece prove themselves worthy contemporaries.
Opening track ‘Backaches & Cardigans’ is an understated introduction to a multi-textured album. Rather than setting guitars to kill, We’ve Been Talking draws us in with its smooth overlap of dexterous rhythms and considered melodies. Though not afraid to hit their distortion pedals, Enemies benefit from a clean and shimmering guitar sound. On songs like ‘Backaches’, standout track ‘Gingerly’, and the waltzing ‘Creamist’, their music possesses an almost lilting effect.
Equally, ‘Fierce Pit Bosses’ and closer ‘Morse Code’ skip along with a quiet complexity, both tracks building towards towering crescendos – for what Enemies lack in the way of vocals, they more than make up for in musical interaction. The dizzying delights of some of We’ve Been Talking’s flashier guitar parts underpinned by equally accomplished drumming and bass.
Where Enemies are occasionally undermined however, is their over zealous structures. ‘Nag Champa’, clocking in at 5 minutes 30, tries its hand at one too many changes in tempo and time signature – ultimately let down by its intricacies. Similarly, nothing here is ever going to pass the whistle test, though this quibble could be made of any instrumental outfit.
Over its nine tracks We’ve Been Talking is an engaging listen. A mixture of subtle inflections and well-mannered bombast, it keeps its momentum and avoids indulgence. For a band that trades in post-rock instrumentals, Enemies’ debut speaks for itself.