reviewed by Laura Stanley
Blake Enemark, former member of We Are The City, has branched off on his own solo project under the name, Snoqualmie. While Enemark’s new project is sure to gain We Are The City fans as a result of a similar and friendly indie-rock sound, Enemark’s music has a unique touch to it that allows it to stand apart from his previous band.
As most of the songs from the eight song album are under or around the three minute mark, Enemark’s songs are short but yes, they’re sweet. There’s an endearing eagerness throughout Snoqualmie as Enemark’s distinct vocals play up his appealing lyrics of natural descriptions and what feels like short story plot lines.
The opener, “Clarissa,” is a simple one. “Clarissa” is the perfect example of how Enemark’s lyrics have a short story-like quality to them as the song follows a woman, Clarissa, and makes seemingly unimportant details, important. The instrumentation with this song is basic, allowing the wail of the pedal steel to be the backbone. “The World Voice,” in comparison, contains sprawling distorted guitars and is a much more energetic number. “The World Voice” also reveals Enemark’s vocal capabilities as he unleashes a solid falsetto by the end of the song.
“Matt & Elaina” is another small number but has the strongest emotional arc in the album for a haunting effect. Beginning with a slow, lulling percussion and guitar combo, by the half-minute mark, the love song that is “Matt & Elaina” hits a beautiful peak of passion – both lyrically and as a result of the roaring guitar inclusion.
Maybe because my name is Laura, the song begins by addressing a Laura, but “Distance” particularly shines in Snoqualmie. The simple instrumentation and pedal steel, like in the opener, returns but in a much more melodious offering. The final endearing line, “The brownness of your curls will take over the world,” is one that I can’t help but think is a small nod to one of Enemark’s favourite bands and major influences for the project, Attack in Black, who have a song entitled “Brownness of Her Curls.”
“Haultain” closes Snoqualmie in what feels like a sullen way as the song begins with an eerie, almost wind-like noise, only making way for Enemark to pose the question, “Have you ever felt useless?” As the song ends though, a gritty and upbeat guitar solo is let loose, taking the record home with a tone that’s very fitting for the album as a whole.
Blake Enemark’s Snoqualmie has some true gems while the freshness of the record shows that this is a very rich platform to start his solo career on.
Snoqualmie is available on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Clarissa,” “Distance,”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)
Check out this short video about the album’s recording process by the good people at Wood & Wires: