Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home
 
Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Enid

Arise and Shine

Review by Julie Knispel

The Enid in 2009 is a somewhat different beast from that which strode the stage in the 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s, yet some familiar threads remain constant.  Chief among these is Robert John Godfrey, founder member and one of two links to the original band that recorded classics such as In the Region of the Summer Stars, Aerie Faerie Nonsense and Six Pieces.  It’s obvious that RJG has expended no small effort to refresh his keyboard skills, and while no songs on Arise and Shine require the kind of dexterous piano playing that exemplified pieces like “Touch Me” and “The Loved Ones,” it’s obvious he’s put the time in to ensure he could play the material he once wrote, and is writing still.  The second link to the past is drummer/percussionist Dave Storey, who was also an original member and played with the band until 1979.  His drumming is key to the grand and sometimes propulsive Enid music, and having him back in the group is a major facet of their tight performances of the sometimes complex Enid material.

New to the band are Max Read, who contributes keyboards, vocals and programming on this release, and Jason Ducker, who adds bass and guitar to the mix.  At the NEARfest performance, RJG stated that he doubted the band would still be going now were it not for Read, and on this release I find his contributions perhaps a bit difficult to sort out but perhaps most integral to the richness of these performances, even in a less overdubbed, live setting.  Ducker, on the other hand, has an immediately identifiable guitar voice, and it’s clear that he’s captured the traditional Enid guitar sound perfectly.  While it is sad that the days of the twin Stewart/Lickerish guitar harmonies are gone, Ducker is no slouch, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those two, even if just for his playing (time will tell from a writing standpoint).

Arise and Shine, I think, was intended as much to reintroduce people to the music of The Enid as it was to show what the current band was going to offer listeners old and new.  In both cases I believe the release succeeds, and while the furthest thing from a comprehensive greatest hits or best of, is a great starting point for people wholly unfamiliar with The Enid as musicians or writers.  Even though I have a good portion of the band’s catalogue I keep returning to this album, as it’s been very enjoyable to revisit old musical friends dusted off, dusted down, and with a new and glimmering coat of paint.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Castles In The Air – Fantasy

Arise and Shine opens with a pair of shorter instrumentals taken from the Enid’s 1997 reunion album White Goddess.  “Castles in the Air” was originally released under the title “Fantasy” on that album, and is a bright, uplifting piece of music that features the band’s symphonic, almost classical direction.

Riguardon - The Dancing Lizard

Also taken from White Goddess, “Riguradon – the Dancing Lizard” in particular matches the ancillary title well, as the song feels almost like a dance, expressed in notes rather than moves.  The first several times I admit it was difficult to tell when the CD shifted from track one to track two, as both “Castles in the Air” and “Riguradon” flow so nicely into each other, creating the effect of a longer composition.

Chaldean Crossing - 2009 Revision

“Chaldean Crossing” was one of the centerpieces of the band’s “final” album, 1988’s The Seed and the Sower, based on Laurens van de Post's book of the same title, the song has a definite Eastern feel to its arrangement and sonic choices, and this arrangement offers a strange kind of respectful, restrained grandeur that is entirely in keeping with that Eastern motif.

Dark Hydraulic Forces Of The Id

One track that might seem surprising to listeners most familiar with the band’s earliest output would be “Dark Hydraulic Forces Of The Id,” originally released on 1994’s Tripping The Light Fantastic.  The band’s foray into dance rhythms and sounds may come as a complete shock to listeners familiar with the ornate, romantic symphonics The Enid had previously committed to wax, but when one considers that they had previously performed most of the music for pop/dance artist Kim Wilde’s debut release, perhaps the idea of them playing dance music isn’t that far fetched.  “Dark Hydraulic Forces Of The Id” is a dramatic, almost cinematic extended composition, and this band does the material justice while making it clear that this music merits re-evaluation, and should not be disregarded due to its rhythmic, dance like nature.

Sheets From The Blue Yonder

Finally, “Sheets From The Blue Yonder” is a take on the 1986 track “Sheets of Blue” from the Salome album.  One of two extended tracks on that release, this composition offers Ducker great opportunity to show off his guitar playing, proving that he is well deserving of his post in The Enid.

Apocalypse - Judgement Day

“Apocalypse - Judgement Day” has always been a favourite of mine, and the rendition here is excellent and impressive. This rendition is faithful to the originals while still adding freshness in different ways, whether it’s modern timbres or tones, or what have you.  Taken from the band’s debut release In the Region of the Summer Stars, this is The Enid at their darkest and most grandiose.

Avalon - Under The Summer Stars

As the title infers, this piece also comes from the Enid’s debut album, originally released in 1976.  The original was a showcase for the melodic side of the band’s ensemble playing, with beautiful harmonized guitars from Stephen Stewart and Francis Lickerish.  Here Jason Ducker handles the guitar work, and he acquits himself very well indeed.

Malacandra - The Silent Planet (Early Version)

The lone “new” track on Arise and Shine is “Malacandra – The Silent Planet.”  This is a composition that would feature as one of the major set pieces on the band’s forthcoming studio album Journey’s End.  Here it appears in a somewhat more basic, nascent form, but the structure of this piece is already fully formed.  Featuring vocals from Max Read, this song points the listener toward the band’s sound to come, and is a great way to close out the album.

You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
More CD Reviews
Metal/Prog Metal
Non-Prog
Progressive Rock
 
Google

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2019 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./Beetcafe.com