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Album Review: Valuables by Enemies

Irish math pop act Enemies release their third and final album Valuables via Topshelf Records on 9th December. This is the bands final act and they’re going out in a flurry of intricate guitars, off kilter time signatures and pop hooks. Imagine a blend of early Foals and This Town Needs Guns with the swagger of Adebisi Shank, the soaring guitars of And So I Watch You From Afar and the pop sensibilities of Beach House and you’d be on the right track.

This isn’t an album for the fans, this doesn’t play to any preconceptions, this is an album for the band – completing the journey and sound of Enemies. As the band say, “In our minds, this album exists for the four of us. If anyone else likes it that is wonderful, and we will feel humbled. But if not a single person ever listens to it, we will feel no less satisfied. We are proud of this album, and the strength it took to make it. The journey of Valuables, with all of its highs and lows, is something that we will never forget.”

Image result for enemies valuables

The freedom of doing what they want feeds through from the intro of ‘itsallwaves’ to the lo-fi beat of ‘For Karla’ to the dream pop qualities of ‘Glow’. Being unrestricted gives the band the liberty to play to their strengths and created an expansive and varied album – it’s plainly obvious from those opening three tracks. However, it’s in the pure math pop of ‘Houran’ and ‘Play Fire’ that Valuables really comes to the fore and embeds itself as a truly excellent album. The former marries a chilled and down tempo build up to the immediate and urgent hook – it blends these two heavily contrasting speeds with aplomb while the latter feels like the almost perfect math pop track blending intricate guitar parts with sumptuous hooks and harmonies.

Valuables comes in as Enemies most accessible and immediate album; you’ll find it engraining itself in your subconscious before you even realise you’ve enjoyed the album. ‘Leaves’ plays like a soft lullaby whose tones will wash over you but pay it even a little bit of attention and you’ll fall in love with its little nuances. It will surely become your favourite track. ‘Phoenix Lights’ sees Enemies off in a measured and assured style, this is math pop and its finest. Enemies will be sorely missed.

AD Rating 8.5/10

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