The band name is not unlike an illiterate person attempting to sound out the words he wants to spell. The thing of it is that thought is not terribly far off from the truth; you see, it takes its inspiration from the novel Feersum Enndjin from author Iain M. Banks. It is a science fiction story set in a future where ancients have left the Earth and those who remain are complacent and surrounded by technology they don’t understand. One of the characters is written in phonetic English, leading to odd spellings such as the band’s name. What influence this has on the music, I am not sure, but it is an interesting basis for the band name (I may need to check out that book).
Feersum Ennjin is poised to release their debut full length CD on November 22, 2011. They previously released an EP back in 2005. Most of the songs that appeared there seem to have been rerecorded for this new album. This is a new release date as the self-titled release was pushed back so that another song could be added. The song is called “The Fourth” and, unfortunately, it is not included on this pre-release version I have. It is a notable addition as it features the reunion of former Tool bassist, Paul D’mour (Who left following the 1995 album Ænema), and Tool drummer Danny Carrey. It is the first time they have performed together since D’mour’s amicable departure.
Despite not having that tune to check out, I have to say that Feersum Ennjin’s album is a pretty solid dose of synth flavored rock. Before I even realized that D’mour was a former Tool member, I was thinking that this had a bit of a Tool feel to it. It is not like this is just Tool under a different name; it just has that feel to it, as if Tool took a more straight forward approach to the music. In some ways I like this more than Tool. I do love Undertow and parts of most of their other albums, but a lot of their output felt self indulgent and boring. I also recognize I am likely in the minority that believe that, so be it. They have a lot of talent; it just may not be for me.
I have seen them compared to bands like Porcupine Tree and Isis. Sadly, my experience with those bands is so limited as to be virtually non-existent. However, I am assuming they are worthy of spending some time with if anyone has recommendations?
The album gets off to a strong start with “Fishing Grounds,” which is also the Tool-iest track on the album, and I think that is what got me into this in the first place. Paul D’mour’s distinctive bass sound plays a prominent role in the groove and it has nice driving ambient quality.
It is followed by “Safeway.” This is a catchy song that is rather infectious and helps cement their skills at crafting melody and carrying it through the song. It offers a floating quality, much like laying back in a comfortable easy chair with a set of quality headphones and being transported somewhere else.
“Dragon” drags you back to reality in that easy chair with a harder rock oriented groove. This is the one where you sit up and let the energy course over you. It is not the best song, but that main guitar riff is kind of cool.
Feersum Ennjin is a really solid album that is very accessible without being too pop. It is an album that is all about the flow, the melody, and ability to transport the listener. This is not an aggressive release, quite the opposite. It is these reasons that I like this CD. I cannot say that I love it, but it is certainly one that appears to be able to grow on you over time. I have found the more I let it play, the more it creeps into my mind, relaxing it and intriguing it.
This is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The best thing I can say is to get your hands on Feersum Ennjin’s full length debut; sit back and enjoy.