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October 15, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

The Enright House – Amaze and Amazement LP

Christchurch four-piece The Enright House have done well with their debut LP Amaze and Amazement. A dense work of shifting melodies and whispered vocals, this record is complex and ethereal, and will no doubt be a hit for anyone with a taste for dark, layered post-rock in the same vein as Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, or Mogwai. One outstanding question has to be asked though; are things in Christchurch really this bleak?

According to Enright House vocalist/songwriter Mark Roberts, yes, they are.

From album opener ‘Scattering the Sun Like Gunshot’, the haunting sense of sombre gloom sets in, and doesn’t ever leave. Precise, stabbing drum rhythms underpin deep layers of guitar and synth, driving the song steadily forward. After a decent instrumental introduction, Roberts’ thin, hazy voice pushes through the mix, giving the song an added sense of depth and definition.

This multi-layered combination of textured guitars, thick synth and wispy vocals is used throughout the album to great effect. Live drums are occasionally traded for electronic rhythms, as on the intriguingly titled ‘Darkwave Equals MC Squared.’ Elsewhere, as on ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, spoken word tracks lie submerged in the mix, cut up and unintelligible. A real treat is the largely acoustic ‘Rain’, a sweet gem of melody towards the end of the album.

However, there are a few missteps here. On a few occasions, Roberts’ songs tend to stretch themselves out beyond their capacity, drifting onwards with no direction. The best example of this is the title track, a largely electronic piece of warbling noise overlaid with breathy vocals that spends three and a half minutes going nowhere.

Roberts’ slightly clumsy lyrics don’t help either. On ‘Up’, he laments to himself “how can I possibly explain this? I am hurt, and I am tired/I’m too tired to get up/I’m too tired to stay up/I’m too tired to stay alive.” Songs like this prove that the line between thoughtfully-crafted emotional confessions and tiresome whinging is one carefully trod.

Despite its occasional instrumental stumble, and pervading sense of morose detachment, Amaze and Amazement is still a decent album, and will no doubt find an audience with the post-rock crowd. Still though, you’ve got to wonder whether this album has been released at the right time of year; it’s doubtful anyone will give this a listen while the sun is out.


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  1. Josh says:

    “Still though, you’ve got to wonder whether this album has been released at the right time of year; it’s doubtful anyone will give this a listen while the sun is out.” That’s because people are always happy in the summer and never sad. And because we are never sad in the summer we would never think of listening to a sad record. Man! Radiohead are screwed.

  2. Simon says:

    I can’t believe the band wrote a letter complaining about this review. Did Tom re-write it after he read the letter?

    btw, you guys should stop approving trackbacks from – all their site does is republish other people’s content and stick a few ads alongside it.

  3. stacey says:

    The original review stated abut 30 seconds of one of the tracks was “borderline plagiarism”- Tom opted to take this out as he felt it to strong a comment. However, the band read the original review, and wrote that letter, which doesn’t make much sense now. The general tone of the review is that the album is quite good, but I think the band just blew that omitted comment completely out of proportion. It should not have been printed for that reason, so i guess if anything, it reflects badly on the band.

  4. Tom Baragwanath says:

    I think Mark’s letter was fair. The comment in the original copy of my review conveyed a far stronger sentiment than was originally intended, and I think Mark was well within his rights to react in the way that he did. I think of all the reviews I’ve written this year, this one is the weakest. I glazed over a lot of the album’s good points, which is regrettable.

  5. Furthermore, why did the band see the article before print? Salient obviously let its policy slip for that one..

  6. Mark says:


    Sorry for sticking my head in… just in response to Laura… I did a generic google search of our album name and found a result from the salient website. I opened the link and read “… plagiarism” and my heart froze. I then wrote a letter to the editor assuming the review had already gone to print, mainly just to express my sadness in a private letter to Tom and the editor at having been accused of something i didn’t feel I had been guilty of.

    Tom was super sweet in dealing with the matter, and he strikes me as a really responsible guy. I didn’t agree with his one statement, and, for that matter, neither did he himself after having more time to dwell on the matter. I harbor absolutely no ill will whatsoever against tom or anyone at salient, and to the contrary, am very positively surprised at the responsiveness, maturity, and general absence of any knee-jerk reactions on their part.

    Anyhow, I hope no one took my letter to mean that i don’t respect a journalist’s right freely to express their aesthetic judgments, without having to worry about artists complain at every turn – i would never, ever, ever write to a reviewer about giving us a bad review, etc. However, what I was just not prepared to do, was allow myself to be wrongfully accused of plagiarism without, at the very least, writing to the editorial staff and defending myself as best I could in the heat of the moment.

    And honestly, despite the fact that my letter might have rubbed a few people the wrong way, I am ultimately glad to have spoken up, because, ultimately, there’s really no point at all for anybody to create something if they don’t value it enough to defend it.

    Anyhow, Tom and the editors have been incredibly courteous during this last week and i really feel like everyone has tried their best in laying this matter to rest- so… I hope that rest it will :).

    Best wishes to everyone,

  7. Mark says:

    (err… wait… i might actually have remembered that incorrectly, Laura… i think i was emailed the review and therefore assumed that it had gone to print, and then found it online shortly thereafter. either way… same difference really :P)

  8. Chris says:

    I’ve always loathed Christchurch.

    Mark, you seem like a top bloke. You too, Tom.

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