Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Enumclaw's lofty ambitions come together on Save The Baby

"Save The Baby"

Release date: 14 October 2022
Enumclaw - Save The Baby cover
13 October 2022, 00:00 Written by Caleb Campbell

If nothing else, Enumclaw understands the power of mythmaking.

As they have said since their inception, they want to be “the best band since Oasis.” As frontman Aramis Johnson puts it, “In the lineage of rock, Oasis is the last band to go from some random dive bar to a stadium. And if we’re not selling out stadiums, we’re not doing it how I wanted to do it.”

It’s a lofty goal, but they’re already on their way to earning that moniker, drawing plenty of interest from the indie world with their Jimbo Demo EP. But when listening to Save The Baby, you begin to realize that for Johnson this band’s success isn’t just a goal – it’s a necessity.

Beneath the blown-out guitars and sun-lit hooks that color the album, Johnson’s lyrics are restless and confessional, revealing a nervous desperation for salvation that only the band can provide. He says as much on “Park Lodge,” an early highlight that also doubles as a mission statement一 “'Cause in my life, I've prayed for change/About a thousand times/And in my life, I've wasted time/But I had to take what's mine.”

For as high as the band is aiming though, they also need the songwriting chops to deliver. Fortunately, here is where the band’s starry-eyed plaintive optimism shines best. In keeping with the band’s easygoing feel, Enumclaw keep the record both raw and infectious. The band members are all self-taught and they only started playing their instruments in 2019, so they very much embody the everyman side of indie rock, complete with laconic vocals and simple but infectious hooks.

Bleary guitar pop hooks, massive melodies, and rock star guitar soloing run all over this record, bringing forth an indelible combination of grunge haze and Pacific Northwest guitar rock. Johnson has a tendency to sing in an easygoing singsong cadence, nailing the slacker vibe that runs through a lot of '90s-indebted indie rock. At the same time, the band works in a no-frills songwriting mode, building the tracks up with passion and melodic hooks rather than intricate technical skill. The result is a delicious blast of nostalgia, bringing back a gone-by era of rock stardom, an imagined moment in the early 2000s when the world seemed a bit sunnier. Even the song titles themselves seem dead-set in this moment, with “2002,” “Jimmy Neutron,” and “Cowboy Bebop” all offering millennial daydreaming to jaded ‘90s kids.

Not all of the record is quite as optimistic as it appears. “Can’t Have It” and “Jimmy Neutron” both find the band narrating a love that is constantly just out of reach, while “Somewhere” offers a sweet and longing acoustic reprieve as Johnson explores the tension between chasing his dream and sharing a life with someone. But even in those low moments, there’s something special about Enumclaw. These doubts and struggles all feel like part of the band’s story, akin to the obstacles in a movie where the hero is down and out before they rise to the occasion.

Whether Enumclaw will hit the wide appeal to bring them from Tacoma Washington to stadiums remains to be seen. But what Save The Baby does best is show that they’re a band worth cheering on. Their combination of simple and sweet lyricism, bleary infectious melodies, and effortless charm is the pristine ideal of the everyman rock band. They feel like the perfect underdogs and everyone loves an underdog story. Give Save The Baby a try and you’ll want to see them filling stadiums too.

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