“Enemy Mine” by Swan Lake
The second album from the Canadian supergroup hurdles any sophomore slumps, but also forces a few lackluster moments in an otherwise solid string of indie rock successes. Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes & Blackout Beach), Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade & Sunset Rubdown), and Dan Bejar (Destroyer & New Pornographers) focus less on the fractured melodies and meandering guitars from their debut, Beast Moans, instead polishing their act and finding a cohesive niche. That being said, Enemy Mine is a logical succession. For instance, Bejar’s “Heartswarm” and “Battle of a Swan Lake, Or Daniel’s Song” are indicative of the album’s excess of dichotomies. The album’s backdrop is monochromatic in tone, but also showcases great leaps in songwriting and structure.
Enemy Mine’s less abrasive, perhaps less demanding approach might be more laudable for some Beast Moans’ detractors. But to others, the experimental hoopla that plagued, and conversely served, Beast Moans was inherently more fascinating. The listener felt like they were a participant in an experiment, which, for me anyway, made the connection easier and more fulfilling. Enemy Mine is the safer route for all involved and at its core is deeply pleasurableâ€”yet personality goes a long way, and this time around Swan Lake only aim to please.