While some groups might release a singles compilation or a collection of rare tracks to stall for time between studio albums or to whet fans’ appetites during tour season, a disc comprised of odds and ends from a band like Enon feels almost necessary. The electro-rock outfit’s deeply weird pop sensibilities fluctuate in tone from whimsy to sophistication; their use of aggressive, high-energy rock as a base for much of their work seems to contradict the band’s occasional cool, electronic tracks. Consider also a frequently changing roster of musicians, and it feels like high time that Enon threw a little something out there just for the fans.
But you won’t find any explanation or clarification on Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence, Enon’s new collection of B-sides, rare tracks and Internet-only songs from 1998 to 2004. There’s still significant content, however: Along with a disc of experimental tidbits that showcase some of the band’s more extreme stylistic leanings, there’s a DVD that includes concert footage, the band’s odd music videos and “Jan. 1, 1999,” a piece composed of various video detritus that appears to be the result of the band playing around their neighborhood with a camcorder.
Songs on Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence seem to jump every which way, with the band working in almost as many genres as there are tracks. After all, most of Enon’s members started out in other bands: Demure vocalist and bassist Toko Yasuda played with The Lapse before joining forces with leader John Schmersal (who was originally a replacement guitarist for Brainiac.) “Knock That Door” and “The Nightmare of Atomic Men” draw heavily on bouncy disco beats; Yasuda plays synth siren on the brooding, miasmal “Drowning Appointments” and “Raisin Heart.” Songs like the woozy, dreamy “Fly South” and the 38 seconds of “Normal Is Happening” defy classification.
Although the collection pales in comparison to the dark, funny Believo! and its upbeat successor, High Society, Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence makes almost all of Enon’s catalog easily accessible, letting fans in on a few great songs they haven’t heard. The compilation also gives fans a glimpse of a talented, highly experimental and often overlooked outfit whose lack of heavy exposure has kept them from reaching a greater audience. The music videos for “In This City” and “Pleasure and Privilege” are fascinating eye candy, whether they’re highly computerized adventures or seizure-inducing animated/live conceptual explorations that evoke early MTV.
Whatever they’re doing — rocking onstage, fucking around on the train tracks on New Year’s Day or showing off the crunchiest new electronic effects — Enon command attention. What do you expect from a band whose frontman has been known to sing directly into the ears of stoic hipsters in the front row at shows? Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence is mostly made for fans, but Enon’s style and sound are bound to attract a larger following.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars