Ender - Ender

Owain Paciuszko 06/05/2009

Rating: 4/5

A stark packaging design and the notion of 'drone rock' may fill a reviewer with a sense of foreboding, but Auckland based five-piece Ender prove on opening track (Part One) that they've got their feet routed firmly in similarly grand and accessible territory to Mogwai. Recorded as a two-piece, with the band expanding to five for live shows, there's plenty going on in these lengthy post-rock soundscapes filled with anguished or rising guitars, ambient synth noise and metronomic, heavy drumming.

Part Two is a particularly stand-out track, reaching an enormous cacophony of noise around the seven minute mark, it has the angry verve of Morrissey's The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils (except, of course, sans lyrics!). The album is billed as a concept on twenty years of life, though to me it sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a pissed off walk in the rain; the sparse landscape of the cover - scarred by pylons - does, in many ways, perfectly encapsulate the feel of the music, wide, open and tainted by industrialisation; but at the same time there's a breadth of energy, emotion and feeling coming out in these tracks that should add splashes of colour to this grayscale scene a la Sin City.

There's softer ambience on Part Three that pulsates with noise gradually before taking a sharp left turn into moody, almost post-grunge territory. Final track Part Four has a deliciously sleazy sound, before transforming itself into a soft reflective number accompanied by tenderly played piano, it's a brilliant turnaround at the album's close and leaves a satisfying sense of optimism.

Ender confidentally leapfrog over any worrying preconceptions of drone or post-rock and create an EP of varying moods whilst playing around a core sound, that, though with much instrumental guitar music, inescapably can be compared to a few key names, is entertaining, emotional and consistently interesting.