ORGAN THING: Before we’re done with it all, before we put the wild flowers and the other things to bed, Enablers put out a fine fine album in 2022…

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Enablers – Some Gift (Wrongspeed Records) – More of that end of year putting the wild flowers and the other things to bed and thousands of miles of music covered and a congress of bees and still one more we missed – although we didn’t really miss it, we did preview tracks, it was played lots and lots on the radio show and there is never quite enough time for all the words to fall into place in terms of this gift of album. You already know how this shakes out, you might be at the kitchen table dealing in what can only be the solemn language of these revealings as we look back just one more time (mainly because we were making one of those end of year lists that have to be made at this time of the year and well Enables have to be on it). We need to do this before the year is out, the cat is still just about in the bag, there is jsut about still time.

They’ve been making great records for years now, there’s no one quite like Enablers (no The, just like Cardiacs), Some Gift actually came out back in September and to talk of spoken word or speak-sing or any of those other things people write about when trying to dance around the architecture of good music does the unique sound of Enablers no justice. There’s something very warm about the sound of Enablers, they way they let the words walk you through, the way the music quietly glows, the way things never get anywhere near cluttered, the way the playing makes you want to hang on to the afterglow of every single line from his quietly spoken mouth, the rhythm of it all. And we’re rushing to put a full stop on it and well, is Some Gift their best yet? We can’t tell, the cables are tangled and the damn umbrellas that people just leave there and what’s a review for? What’s words worth?  

They first made music together in San Francisco in 2002. Their individual histories join the dots through the major musical events in America of the 80s and 90s: the fertile Texas underground, Homestead Records, New York noise, Bay Area metal, the post-Never mind goldrush and everything that got left in its wake.As with all the best bands, they formed by accident. Author and poet Pete Simonelli convinced guitarists (and fellow bar-dwellers) Joe Goldring (Swans, Touched By A Janitor, Wade, Toiling Midgets) and Kevin Thomson (Nice Strong Arm, Timco, Touched By A Janitor, Hazel Atlas, YEARS) to provide musical backing for a few poems. The addition of drummer Yuma Joe Byrnes (of 4AD’s Tarnation) sparked Enablers into life, away from the cerebral idea of a ‘book project’ and into the infinite possibilities of a living, breathing band.Says Simonelli, ‘We agreed that (Enablers) were not going to sound like much of what had already come before in the vein of ‘spoken word’ recordings: a voice in front of a droning, basically static piece of music. We wanted solid musical compositions with dynamic and tense arrangements’They’ve been doing that very thing, collectively, from day one.

Enablers

They are as much a treasured paperback book you bang on about far too much as a worn piece of vinyl you know every blemish of – the one you keep with you, that Bukowski book you keep with you, they’re that bike ride you went of yesterday, that and yes, this should have been review weeks ago and there’s always a list of things we haven’t done yet and that list is needed right now and really Enablers are a band you need to discover in your own space and time, you need your piece of peace and quiet, maybe find a day when you don’t turn a light on until the noon, keep it as dark on the inside as it is on the outside… And we need to kind of bluff it here or 2023 will suck us in and this will never get done even if we do try to dry it in the microwave.. 

Simonelli punctuates the thrilling out-rock of the musicians as if directing the chaos with each jabbed finger or kick of a boot, rhythms explode on a single syllable or are seemingly sucked back into their shell by a breath in the text. Goldring and Thomson constantly reinvent the wheel, using the limitations of guitar to their advantage, always surprising listeners with new possibilities. It is primal, powerful and absolutely hardcore, the product of 40 years of music-making that stands apart from very many – if not most – contemporary bands.Over time the group has drifted geographically apart yet has somehow managed to stay together. They weathered the tragic loss of Byrnes in 2012 with a succession of incredible drummers (Doug Scharin of June Of 44, Neil Turpin of Bilge Pump) before settling on Sam Ospovat (Lydia Lunch, The Flying Luttenbachers, Ava Mendoza, Brandon Seabrook, Tuneyards) and a relatively stable line-up – albeit one now separated by state lines and oceans.In the tradition of the punk and underground era they grew up in, Enablers have always treated each new recording as a bookmark in time used to generate resources to tour. They’ve stayed defiantly DIY with releases on Neurot, Lancashire & Somerset, Exile On Mainstream and Human Worth with each tour increasing their audience a little more.Some Gift is their seventh LP and the first on Wrong Speed Records. To the labels ears it represents a summation of the history of the band. It recalls the incendiary power of the early records whilst being delivered with a loose, human feel that can only have been cultivated through the time and experiences they share together. These seemingly gradual changes in sound from album to album reveal themselves as revelations once fully experienced and understood as a whole. It sounds like this music comes effortlessly to the players, yet it leaves the listener punch drunk, exhausted and elated.

As someone else already said, If you’re familiar with Enablers, you’ll love it immediately. If you’re not, then this is the  perfect album to start with, to take the time to get yourself acquainted. You will want to catch up with the rest of their library of work, they do speak to you in a way only Enablers can and you don’t need to reed this last day of the year attempt of a review (when the year already ended yesterday), just find a quiet space, shut everything else out and hit the play button. This is another finely detailed Enablers album, they are rather good at doing their reassuringly warm thing and their thing is rather unique, it is rather special and you will love it… (sw)  

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One thought on “ORGAN THING: Before we’re done with it all, before we put the wild flowers and the other things to bed, Enablers put out a fine fine album in 2022…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN THING: List time, our top albums of 2022, who made it? Uto, Cheer Accident, Miraculous Mule, Extra Life, Black Midi? That one eyed horse? Wovenhand? Who? | THE ORGAN

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