MOONLIGHT [EP] Susan Enan
A certain indie pop band whose name I'd been noticing a lot lately was scheduled to appear on late-night TV. As yet uninitiated, I was curious to know whether all the chatter and year-end listing was warranted. When they came on, I turned up the volume, and soon my wife wandered in from the bedroom to see what was up. She only lingered for about a minute, then gave me a kiss and went back to bed, saying as she left, "That folksinger you were listening to earlier could wipe up the floor with those boys..." Before I shut off the set and followed her, watching unmoved as they completed their pitch to the nation, I imagined a little battle of the bands that would pit this combo against the folksinger to whom my wife had been referring. That'd be Susan Enan, an English singer/songwriter who lives in Belfast. I pictured Enan stepping onstage carrying her guitar and within seconds stilling the crowd, causing them to forget all about the band that had just departed in a sweat.
The first time I heard Susan Enan sing, I was en route elsewhere and got stopped in my tracks. Directly I was detouring over to Paste Music to pick up her only disc currently available, an EP. Beyond the simple beauty of her songs, there is a mysterious gravity at the center of her sound. I think she could do a cover of "Twist and Shout" and make it seem meaningful. When we asked photographer Andisheh Nouraee (whose photos of Enan are above-right and below) about seeing her in concert, he said, "There's something about her voice, especially live, that gives you the feeling that you're witnessing something important. Strange for such an understated singer." He also sent a link to a piece he'd written after catching her gig. (His writing and photographs are featured regularly in Atlanta's Creative Loafing.) A line of his that I especially related to was: "The songs were sad, but so brilliant that they were somehow uplifting."
Her first full-length album, Plainsong, is due out any week now, and I hope to review it in an upcoming Puremusic. But dont postpone the pleasure of hearing her--go pick up her wonderful EP, Moonlight / Skin, Bone & Silicone. It's a five-song set, one cut recorded live, another represented by two takes (the second a duet with Julie Lee--see the review of Lee's album in our recent issue). Accompaniment ranges from a single guitar to backing by a band both subtle and perfectly fitted (of special note is the gospel piano by Jez Carr that opens "Moonlight").
plays like a friend's well-chosen selection of favorites, and it provides
an excellent introduction to what I believe will be very, very big things
to come. Check out the clips on the Listen page and see where they take
you. James Meyers
[Shortly after this issue went up, Susan sent a note saying that the release of Plainsong has been pushed back to July 2005. Moonlight will have to carry us through until summertime.]