Remora: Enamored (Silber Records, 2005)
Enamored is Remora’s first full-length in four years. This LP is a collection of songs written over a long period of time and the tracks are inspired by pulp sci-fi of the 1970’s. Remora’s early ventures had to do with ambient walls of sound and blissed out guitar noise. This LP brings in more songwriting elements and singing. There is some blissed out moments on the album, but it seems that the guitar has been taking out of the world of effects. The vocals are weepy, depressed, and dragging. I will say this; the album seems a little schizophrenic. There are brilliant moments of loud, blissed out noise and then there are the softer, more singer songwriter moments. That said, I will discuss the songs below.
“You’re the One I’ve Been Waiting For” is the first track on the disc (although the artwork says otherwise) and it struck me as low-fi. The track begins with a great, atmospheric sound and then some guitar picking starts. The vocals come in and sort of speak plainly to the listener. Honestly, this track was kind of a bad first impression. It’s about a man who is willing to give up his issues for his woman and go on adventures with her. What I do like about this track is the spacey guitars that dance between the speakers, covering the monotonous plucking of the acoustic guitar. “Volcana” has an acoustic guitar and has an almost “dark Sufjan Stevens” feel to it. It’s a much more interesting song than the first track and I wish they would have been swapped to create a better entrance into the album.
“Sorry” begins with the whining of guitar and a mournful drone as a wall of sound builds. The bass thunders amidst the wall. Have read about Remora, this is what I was hoping for. This track is a giant soundscape with many layers. This track is listless and beautiful. “Kill My Way Out Here” kills the wall and goes back to guitar and a depressing vocal. The lyrics seem to be about a dying loved one that the singer would kill to keep alive. It’s a very fatalistic song and seems hopeless. “Out of Air” is a song about longing, it seems. It has an acoustic guitar strumming again and the doleful vocals. “Beams” begins with hums, backward sounds, and some strumming of the guitar. I really, really like Remora’s instrumental/experimental work. It’s lush and interesting. “Let It Die on the 4th of July” is another acoustic oriented song with male vocals. It has a lighter feel, but, of course, death is central to the songs topic. “Legends” begins with feedback and flows into clanging acoustic guitar. The cadence of the vocals is kind of rushed and very different from the other songs.
“True Glory” begins with warbling guitars and distortion. This is a very brief track, but, it is one of those instrumental tracks that I think Remora does so well. This track peters off into “Untitled,” another vocal with repetitive guitar and a slight ring in the background. Eventually, the wall of noise that Remora creates so well is joined together with his lyrics and vox. “Weakness-Strength” begins with a hum and what sounds like some tapping kind of percussion. This song feels almost like a stripped down Michael Knott piece. It’s actually the most interesting vocal track on the entire disc, in my opinion. It’s subdued and, not lethargic, but patient. “Arena” follows on the heals of “Weakness-Strength and it is a brief track that has high-pitched guitar and crazy, chaotic noises swirling in the background.
“Champion” begins with soft guitar and vocals. This song is also pleasant and shows a more sophisticated side to the vocals and a stripped down beauty in the guitar work. Also, the general structure of the song is better than some of the others. “Knockout” is the final track on the disc and it clocks in at about 11 minutes long. It starts with a low rumble, warbling sounds, guitar picking, and some various noises and clicks. This combination of sounds has a hypnotic sound that is soothing.
I am a bit torn in how to react to this disc as a whole. There are many good tracks, but there are also an equal amount of tracks that I wish were not on the disc. The disc feels very unbalanced. I would love to hear Remora’s earlier work with walls of sound and guitar. I think that is what Remora is best at.