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CD Review: My Enemy – Elil EP

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My Enemy
Elil EP
2005, Vapen & Godis

This first release of Swedish band My Enemy’s Elil EP, released in March 2005, opens with a dazzlingly display of dreamy vocals and guitars. This first track — “Can’t Blame You” — segues into the wonderfully bizarre “Gullvivas koloni,” which, in a strange bit of reference to what probably has its roots in Swedish folklore, is prefaced in the liner notes with, “But one strict rule they had; oh yes, the strictest. No one must ever ask where another rabbit was and anyone who asked ‘Where?’ – except in a song or a poem – must be silenced.” One starts to wonder if there is a thematic tie across the album relating to rabbits; after all, there are two dancing bunnies on the front cover, a cryptic reference to “El-ahrairah,” the folk hero of rabbits described in Watership Down, and a photograph of a hand over a brightly lit piece of white paper making a shadow — which could, quite easily, become the shadow of a bunny rabbit (though as a reference to a rabbit, that may be quite a stretch.)

With Elil EP, their first release — as well as the first release for their label, Vapen & Godis — My Enemy demonstrates their lyrical ability. It is worth noting that despite the fact that, although Swedish is their first language, they manage to craft simple — yet profound — imagery. “Grönland” demonstrates such with the lines, “it’s so quiet and peaceful here / and the only thing I can hear is the sound of a barking dog in the village and my little tinnitus.” The storytelling quality My Enemy attaches to their already notable instrumentation makes for one intensely interesting debut.

However, interesting as it may be, Elil EP is not without its faults — and, luckily, they serve to add a definite human quality that is, quite regrettably, not often found in music with an electronic sound such as that found here. Of course, any electronic sound it contains isn’t overpowering, by any means. Much to their credit, My Enemy seems to easily recognize the concept of successful songwriting: any focus on a particular sound should be eclipsed by a focus on quality songwriting.

For a debut EP, My Enemy has outdone themselves. The advantage of a debut typically rests primarily in a clean slate — no expectations to cloud the mind makes a noticeable difference in the reception of musicians. Producing an outstanding debut seems to be a bit of a curse: unless My Enemy can manage to record something of a noticeably higher quality, they may be stuck being known as “the band with a great debut,” and not much else. No doubts here, though — be on the lookout for My Enemy and Vapen & Godis. “Swedish Invasion” be damned; there is something more in this Scandinavian land, and soon enough, it will be noticed.

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