Monday, July 28, 2014


Ennui has come a long way. What was once a criminally underappreciated four-piece recently morphed into a criminally underappreciated solo project, and with that lineup change has come a sort of renaissance. A loss in member quantity hasn’t proven detrimental to music quality, and in fact Jim Doutrich’s solo transformation has rendered Ennui’s already shimmering soundscapes grander, the atmospheric loops even dreamier. Ennui may have shrunk in stature, but sonically speaking it is soaring to new heights.

While Doutrich’s wistful, often aching vocal lines continue to serve as the cornerstone of Ennui’s output, you’ll notice a marked difference in accompaniment: The fuzzy guitars and a sparse drum kit present on 2011’s (excellent) Formation Of Tides have been traded in for an endless procession of lush synths. It’s an interesting progression, given that this is Ennui’s third album. Typically, synth-driven projects incorporate more traditional instruments later in their discography, as though making a push towards becoming a *real band* through the introduction of a full-piece live show. Here Doutrich has done the opposite, paring down a tighter, more manageable package. In doing so, the album feels almost like a half-decade throwback—the style harkens to the Hipster Runoff-christened “chillwave” movement. I loathe to categorize it was such, given that Doutrich’s musicality far surpasses any given 19 year old bedroom producer, but if you’re looking for that golden oldie sound of 2009 cultivated by the likes of Washed Out and Toro Y Moi, well, look no further. Anyone in need of a soundtrack to a day at the beach should have Telepathic Beat (due out in September on Mush) at the top of their list.

Ennui’s new work might feel somewhat nostalgic, but Doutrich is clearly looking ahead. On the album’s first single, Circles, he laments “I’m wasting away my years”, before launching into a credo of sorts, ”Turn away don’t give up / All the lines that you’ve crossed…Turn away, drift apart / Don’t go back to the start.” Given the history of the band, and Doutrich now embarking solo, it almost seems as a call to action; a self-motivating rallying cry. Change is hard, but Ennui is doing it for the better. Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.

No comments:

Post a Comment