I’m pretty late to the math rock train; the genre has been steadily climbing into the void filled by indie among Internet Metal Nerds, garnering niche attention and love for close to a decade now. However, never say never, right? It helps that math rock seems on the verge of multiple branching points right now, reaching left and right for new sounds, flavors and inspirations. Thus, you get post rock and math rock, math rock and emo, math rock and electronica and so much more. So why not math rock that’s all smooth edges, buttery melodies and spaced out compositions more akin to the trippy sides of stoner rock? I present to you Enemies and their Valuables, an album that’s all undulating bass, delayed guitars and plenty of rhythm to make everything tick. The math rock is what makes everything tick, the dynamo pulsing beneath the melodic oscillations.
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“Play Fire” is a great example. Driven by the drums and bass, its guitars spring in and out like so many hares on a green meadow, infusing the track with a happy-go-lucky verve that’s hard to resist. It alternates between slower passages, almost on an ABAB structure, as the instruments trade brief broadsides. In this regard it maintains that math rock exuberance that everyone has grown to love while nettling it with more substance a depth via the more chilled out parts. Lest you thought I was forgetful, the vocals of course blend into both parts of the equation. First, they’re “ta ta ta” a capella sets the basic rhythm for the track as it starts off. Second, listen intently along the three minute mark as several vocal parts blend into an almost psychedelic whole, reminding this writer of post rock band The Khost or, in part, of And So I Watch You From Afar, proponents of this brightly tinged rock style.
Valuables goes many places and I won’t bore you by pointing them all out here. Suffice it to say, it’s dangerously fun; ear-worm is a bit of an understatement as you’ll find yourself whistling many of the album’s lines as you go about your day. While the previous full length, Embark, Embrace, is where I was introduced to these guys, Valuables is truly a step up in anyway. Listen to it when longing for summer, drinking something cool or just in need of a shot of relaxed, all encompassing happiness right to the heart. Boy, do we need more of those as every day passes, right? Sadly, this appears to be their final release, as Enemies have agreed to go their separate, artistic ways. Regardless, they gave us this bit of sunshine and pure thrill and for that we say: thanks, Enemies.