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The Enid - Salome CD (album) cover


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

3.11 | 46 ratings

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2 stars Well there's no question Robert John Godfrey is an odd guy, and on this album he really stretches to come up with both a theme and a musical style befitting the times (and keeping in mind this released in the eighties). There seems to be little attempt to sound anything like any previous incarnation of the Enid on this record, Godfrey instead preferring to sound a bit like a cross between Bryan Ferry and the Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler while crooning about the lust-filled thoughts of Christianity icon John the Baptist on the eve of his beheading. Got your head wrapped around that word picture?

I'm not sure what the heck Godfrey and Stephen Stewart were thinking, except that given the time period in which this was recorded progressive and symphonic rock were pretty much dead. Music on the airwaves consisted mostly of Robert Palmer's schmaltzy cock-soul and acts like Bananarama and Tiffany trying to pass off late sixties psych-pop covers as synthed-up dance numbers. So maybe he got caught up in the moment and, like Alan Parsons ('Vulture Culture', 'Stereotomy'), Jeff Lynne ('Balance of Power') and Manfred Mann ('Criminal Tango') decided to leverage his considerable keyboard skill to create almost completely synthesized, rather sterile music that might actually be palatable beyond their core audience.

Well on a technical scale this is decent music, but like everything else I just mentioned it lacks any real sort of creative fire and in the end is one of, if not the, most forgettable albums the Enid ever released.

The opening track is pretty much all synthesized music with insipidly repetitive lyrics "If I was the king of pleasure, you the queen of pain? your love is killing me...", I suspect meant more for shock than for artistic value. Any attention is good attention if you're an artist I suppose, but in this case I think Godfrey and Stewart could have taken a higher road.

"Sheets of Blue" features Stewart on guitar only after almost a third of the album has already unwound, really odd since he collaborated on the opening track but Godfrey wrote this one. And the song opens with promise, featuring a slow and mildly orchestral- sounding lead-in, but mid-stream Godfrey shifts back into Alan Parsons ultra-synthetic studio sheen mode with the rest of the song saved only by Stewart's very decent guitar work (which come to think of it Ian Bairnson did for Alan Parsons on his last few albums as well).

The closing "Dance Music" is separated into subtitled parts but is meant to be a single composition, and it's rather a jumbled mess of percussion, chanting and haphazard keyboard work until the "Flames of Power" part toward the end when Godfrey finally reverts back to the classically-inspired sound the Enid was known for. But really it's too late and too somber to save this album.

I love the Enid, but this is easily my least favorite album. The only real excuses are that both Godfrey and Stewart were spending an awful lot of time working on other projects, Godfrey was in ill health, and it was the latter eighties. I can't quite go to three stars this time, so two it is (out of five), and not particularly recommended, even to fans of the band.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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