Apr 20, 2009

Enemy Mine-Swan Lake

It begins with an idea. Then flowers. Immaculately. It speaks from places unknown. With great confidence and supreme talent. "Enemy Mine" knows no boundaries. It knows no limits. It is witheringly great and permanently wonderful. It is the work of three men. It is meant to be listened to carefully. It is greatness unfolding carefully in your hands.

If "Beast Moans" was a complicated riddle, then "Enemy Mine" is a complicated bewilderment. But it is greater. More succinct, more complex, more structured. The structure is this. Three men, three talents go into a studio and start from scratch. Swan Lake are truly a project. There are no live shows to hone their craft, no months spent on refining their songs. They start with a blank canvas and end up with something akin to a Kandinsky. It is actually quite remarkable that they have managed to produce something so wonderful, so complete. Many bands would spend years trying to produce something so unique and wonderful and still come up short. So, the music is equally spread amongst the three principles. Carey Mercer delivers some of his best work ever with three dollops of craziness and complexity. Spencer Krug yet again provides us with his unique brand of beauty, whilst Dan Bejar cajoles us once more with his ascerbic wit. Of the three it is possibly Mercer who reaches the highest. The opener "Spanish Gold, 2044" is wonderfully crusty and creaky, it aches under the weight of its import, building a singular momentum that purely slays. Then his closer "Warlock Psychologist" is strange and awestruck. A wonder track that also features Spencer joining in for some memorable wailing. That is a feature of the album as well. For even though each writer has three clearly defined songs as their contribution, there is definitely a collaboration going on as well, as each singer gives important vocals to each of the songs on display. This is best illustrated on Spencer's stand out song, the eerily beautiful "A Hand At Dusk", a miniature epic that features Krug's flair for drama. Then towards the end Mercer enters the scene with his trademark vocals delivered from the depths of his soul. Krug also provides us with the very tender and sweet "Paper Lace", a song of quiet beauty. Bejar's best moment is probably the dark and deliberate "Heartswarm". This is a totally rewarding and amply satisfying album. A rich tapestry of sound, a conglomeration of the abilities of three supreme talents. Maybe someday they will give us the pleasure of playing live for us, but for now the pleasures of this album will have to suffice. Album of the year? Well, yes. I am glad you asked...

MP3: Spanish Gold, 2044
MP3: A Hand At Dusk

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