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"Hocus Pocus"
by: Sun-J

After indie outfit band Brainiac decided to part ways, few expected much from guitarist John Schmersal. Though, he soon retaliated critics and naysayers by hooking up with a couple of garage band musicians and dropped an album under the name Enon, 2000's Believo! The LP was fresh, and seemed to send Schmersal on his way until the garage band musicians decided to return to their previous bands, and once again, John was left in doubt. Not one to lay dead for too long, Schmersal went out and recruited Toko Yasuda, a vocalist, keys and guitarist extraordinaire (formerly of Blonde Redhead). John then went out and picked up a super percussionist in Matt Schultz (formerly of Lab Partners).

After garnering acclaim with a slew of EP's, the new band dropped a 2002 release, High Society. The album was buzz worthy and laid down a foundation for John, and finally got him much deserved respect. After an earlier EP release, In the City, Enon finally dropped a sophomore release, Hocus Pocus.

Hocus Pocus emphasizes influences form John's old band Braniac with all of its synth pop references. On "Shave," Yasuda's multi layered vocals fit perfectly, and waffle about a Latin guitar. "Murder Sands," a cut from the June EP release, In the City is guided by a punk influenced bassline and a raw chorus, "She said please stay close, I'm gonna be right back." "Storm the Gates," is psychedelic rock for the masses, while "Daughter in the House of Fools" displays Yasuda's voice in an electrically erotic fashion as it rows along the flow of the bass-curving beats. "Mikazuki," features label mate Nina Nastasia's viola player Dylan Willemsa while "Candy" embraces the bubble pop singing of Yasuda, and meshes perfectly with John's passionate lyrics, "Each way I turn, my senses burn..." "Monsoon" is a rhythm based electronic pop song, while "Utz" is American rock with an angular melody. "Starcastic," is the standout track with its power bassline aggressively mixed with Yatsuda's energized vocals and Schmersal's balancing harmony.

What makes Hocus Pocus shine is the exchange in styles between Yasuda and Scmersal. Yasuda is more electronic funk with techno like betas, while Schmersal is pop-rock with a UK flair. The album overall has an 80's new wave feel, and empowers the fusion between rock and electronic marvelously.


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