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The Enid - Touch Me CD (album) cover

TOUCH ME

The Enid

 

Symphonic Prog

3.62 | 83 ratings

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Sheets of Blue
4 stars With ever-growing fame in their homeland, The Enid was gathering quite the fanbase since the cult hits In The Region of the Summer Stars, and Aerie Faerie Nonsense. The Enid's growing popularity would gain them a spot on the roster of Pye Records, being one of the most expensive signings by the label. The band was even promised to have its own studio to work in. But financial problems would cripple the label, and was taken over by new management, rushing the band to record a new album. Over two months in 1978, Touch Me was recorded, and was released the following year.

Touch Me, another ambitious album by the band, consisted of two side-long suites, the first being the 22-minute long Charades, cut into four movements. Among the suite were intensive preludes, orchestral interludes, and well done melodic instrumentation. Immediately, the medieval influence heard on Aerie Faerie Nonsense returns once more on Humouresque, the first movement. Cortege, a funeral march, picks up the oboe melody hinted at in the previous movement, added with Renaissance-like drumming. Elegy, a more laid back piece, is more of a solo piece akin to The Lovers from the debut album. Gallavant, the final movement, brings back the upbeat feel of Humouresque, with a dramatic twist added in for good measure. The theme seems to be taken from Bruckner, though the arrangements are as lush one can imagine an Enid arrangement could be.

Albion Fair, a single 16 minute long piece takes up the entire second half of the album. The first part of the suite shows a rather different aspect to The Enid, with the usual lush orchestrations being ditched for a series of soundscapes and overdubs, giving the music a psychedelic touch. Comparisons to Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh can be made here rather than classical composers such as Mahler or Bartok. The second part is by far the most complex of the musical arrangements that one finds on the album, if not throughout the band's history. Once again we get the polyphonic classical structures as rock band and classical orchestra clash together, at times bonded by the same theme. However one of the main features of this track is the variety of moods that it is able to convey.

Touch Me, a rushed affair by The Enid, managed to expand upon the themes displayed on its predecessors. However, the fact it was recorded in only two months and in their own home studio showed an obvious drop in quality compared to the albums before it. Problems with the sound quality, as well as the two suites being a tad bit too ambitious put a crutch on the album in general. In the situation the band was in, they put in a respectable effort. The tour for the album would do it justice though; similar to Genesis' And Then There Were Three. Unfortunately, the aforementioned financial problems would cause further problems for The Enid. And even touring wouldn't get them out of the inevitable.

Sheets of Blue | 4/5 |

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