After The ENID album “Invicta” – Robert John Godfrey and Joe Payne (vocalist and Electric Wind Instrument) wanted to explore the classical elements of the band’s music in more detail.
Godfrey has suggested that the title of the new ENID project hints at the bringing together of arts and entertainment – and the history and the future of music. It’s a call (to the audience) to be more open, more tolerant and more aware …it is also a call to take an open-hearted approach to the wonder of new musical experiences.
The latest album promises short but inspiring instrumental arrangements, as well as the kind of eccentricity that we might expect from this exciting group of musicians. The Bridge may be less elaborate (though no less skilled) than you might first assume. The virtuoso pieces are refined, beautifully rendered and clever. But they never result in rampant experimentalism. The music of The Enid, especially the crescendos, will, of course, take you up into the ethers.
In the new pieces, performed live last night at the Court Theatre, Tring there was often a sense of threat – dark notes mustering and mushrooming on gloomy embankments of sound.
The unmatched intensity of the percussion (Dave Storey and ably assisted by Dom Tofield ) was often balanced with a sense of calm and engaging regularity – this sometimes even passed-over into moments of carefree frivolity.
The keys (from Robert John Godfrey – at TRING he was seated at the piano – the spitting image of Charles Darwin) seemed almost able to evaluate our moods – to ensure we remain calm and optimistic – that we did not become too distracted by the threats of approaching darkness.
The guitar-work from Jason Ducker was also admirable (never overblown.) It provided an acidic rock-edge to some of the pieces, without taking anything away. Special mention must also go to Max Read (keys and guitars) for his huge and magnificent contributions – especially for his perfect backing vocals.
Depth misconceptions and skewed audio angles did not jar – as they sometimes do with other avant-garde practitioners. This is probably because The Enid have their feet firmly rooted to the ground. It is just their head’s – their corporate vision – which is up in the clouds.
The graphics videos were excellent – screened behind the band, these helped to keep us uncertain. But if those images confused us at times – they always seemed to be able to steer us back to safer territory before before we felt completely discouraged or weakened. There was a completeness in all the songs – the pace allowed us time to feel at ease ‘inside them.’ So we could find ourselves nodding our heads, tapping our toes, and enjoying the many moments of sublime beauty.
The clarity, serenity and seduction of Joe Payne’s vocal performance was remarkable. On ‘One and the Many’ (the second track from the Invicta album) it is truly magical. He has an impressive range – and performs with incredible passion and drama. This hymn-like piece also contains pastoral leitmotifs and a jewel-like radiance that shines through it – to warm the heart of the audience. In the final stages, this song turns into something much more rock-inspired – but equally magnificent.
‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ (1983 ) treats the threat of war in music-hall terms – perhaps in a similar manner to “Oh! It’s a Lovely War”. Although this song is melancholic it also has a charm and youthful child-like, mirth of its own. The symbolism flickers out – much as it might have done from a Mutoscope reel on a pleasure pier. It is just this kind of clever juxtaposition that elevates The Enid’s music from the simply smart and cunning – transforming it to a state of grace.
Always resourceful, constantly inventive, The Enid provided us with an endless succession of ideas and moods – offered without restrictions – filled with colours and intensity. Flamboyance was yoked in, though – that is, until the wonderful climaxes.
The Bridge show captures the aura of eternal freshness and unfailingly optimism yet gives us a glimpse of a world that perhaps does not shine as brightly as we would like.
Provocative, dramatic and incredibly inspiring.
Words and Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Wharf, Tavistock 30TH JAN
Hanger Farm Arts Centre West Totton 31ST JAN
Gloucester Guildhall 21ST FEB
Holy Trinity Church Leeds 06TH MAR
Websters Theatre Glasgow 07TH MAR
Robin2 Bilston 11TH JUN
The Musician Pub Leicester 31ST JUL