Artwork by Brian Strauss

Of Ennui, from left to right. Indigo Machado, Brian Strauss, Angus Garcia (back), Christian Cate. Photo by Mark Aragon.

Shoegaze is back, but to call Of Ennui shoegaze would be a bit of a misnomer…

We’re ecstatic to premiere the latest single from South Bay four piece, Of Ennui, comprised of vocalist and guitarist Brian Strauss, guitarist Christian Cate, bassist Angus Garcia, and drummer Indigo Machado. Their sound defined in equal parts by the dreamy, textured guitars that serve as a hallmark of the (fill in the blank)-gaze genres and something darker, chaotic, and more abrasive. The opener of their most recent two song release, “Doom In Bloom” is testament to that mixture. A sustained, otherworldly lead guitar shrieks through a fog of sludgy instrumentation, as singer Strauss’ fragile vocals are nearly swallowed up by the sheer weight of it all. There’s a bit of metal and a bit of stoner rock in here too, as the measured, booming mid-tempo track gives way to an onslaught of double kicks, before heaving to its climax.

Sad Boy,” an updated version of the track on their 2016 release All Things Bad & Mean, embraces a dreamier aesthetic, showcasing the band’s impressive range and depth. The track commences with a light picking pattern, before opening its doors wide, framing a tinkling lead guitar line with a droney, wall of sound rhythm. Strauss’ endlessly emotive vocals crooning, only slightly removed from the noise.

The track, and the release as a whole, is a marked step forward from All Things Bad & Mean. With the help of Small Culture‘s Jerik Centeno, who also mixed The Verigolds‘s 2016 San Diego Music Award winning album, For Margaret, Of Ennui have refined their striking sonic palette. They’ve ditched the lo-fi aesthetic that constrained their last release in favor of a much more expansive, balanced, and immersive sound. Their songs feel suspended in the textural ether they’ve created, basking in their electric hum, all the while never feeling more than a couple bars away from potentially splitting into chaos.

Check them out at Soda Bar on Wednesday, August 9th with fellow South Bay rockers Battery Point and Half Eaten. Buy the single on Bandcamp here and make sure you turn it all the fucking way up.

Review By: Jakob McWhinney