Live Review: Enumclaw

Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room

Seattle, WA   

Contact: [email protected]

Web: enumclaw.online

Players: Aramis Johnson, lead vocals, guitar; Nathan Cornell, lead guitar; Ladaniel Gipson, drums; Eli Edwards, bass 

Material: Enumclaw is a talented alt-rock band from Tacoma, WA. The foursome readily blends the fast-and-loud melodic inklings of Hüsker Dü with the laidback vocals and dissonant guitars of Pavement (Stephen Malkmus) and Dinosaur Jr. (J. Mascis), adding a smattering of sounds from '90s indie-icons Sonic Youth (“Teen Age Riot”) and the Pixies (“Where is My Mind?”).  While Enumclaw leans into alternative music’s halcyon days (they cleverly proclaim they are “the best band since Oasis”), their songwriting has a raw intangible authenticity that brings a natural modernity to their sound. Lyrically the foursome explores a wide range of themes—the dark domains of coping with the death of a loved one, the bright spheres of fostering newfound friendships, pursuing quixotic quests to fulfill desired dreams—and brings them into focus through an inspirational lens.  

Musicianship: The four-piece band’s musical technique is carefully crafted into their style of sugary grunge meets full-out indie rock. Frontman Aramis Johnson embraces his deep chilled-out vocals and skillfully slips them over his distorted, lo-fi guitar tones while lead guitarist Nathan Cornell creates mellow melodic timbres with just enough screech to make the songs stand out. The rhythm section, bassist Eli Edwards (Johnson’s younger brother) and drummer Ladaniel Gipson have a strong connection and their ability to mix slick overdrive grooves with steadfast beats makes a perfect undercurrent for Enumclaw’s relaxed but earnest sonic ethos.

Performance: Enumclaw leaped onto Neumos’ intimate stage and immediately surged into the hazy sweet “Save the Baby.” The spirited indie-music makers continued with the jangly fun “Cowboy Bebop” where several fans slipped by security, ran on stage, and dove into the all-hands-up, sing-along crowd. Enumclaw moved through their vibrant set with the dreamy shoegaze-driven “Jimmy Neutron” and ended with a round of new material - the moving alt-rockers “This Light of Mine” and “Change.” The evening culminated with a gracious Johnson inviting fans 21+ years old to meet them at the bar down the road—an invite that was greatly appreciated by fans of that ilk. 

Summary: Enumclaw is a brilliant ’90s indie rock-meets-dissonant shoegaze band. Their live set highlights the band’s ability to bring in an audience with their bold, yet charming presence.  Most impressive is the band’s intangible musicality that can only truly be heard and felt within the throes of their heartfelt, rock-out shows. Look for Enumclaw playing across the United States with new music in 2024!