Crooks On Tape – Fingerprint

3 out of 5

Produced by: John Schmersal, Sean Hoffman (recorded by)

Label: Misra

You remember how the first Enon album emerged out of the stew of Brainiac and Skeleton Key on the label run by the guy from Barkmarket and it was exactly the kind of noisy, weird, infectious pop rock awesomeness you’d expect from all those influences?  Yeah, boyee.  In a musical landscape that, for various reasons, was lacking any further output from those bands, Believo! was my damn jam, listened to over and over and forcefully subjected to others’ earholes.

I’m sure you also remember how Enon went to Touch and Go, got a Japanese girlfriend, and started sounding like somewhat more generic indie pop thereafter.  Ah well.

In the used bins, you could dig up some CDrs or 7″S that seemed to continue to explore that early period sound, though it was clear that the best and most concise expression of that style made it on to the debut.  Still, it was interesting to imagine how else the Believo! approach could’ve been perverted for our listening pleasures.

And so maybe some of the guys from those same early days had the same curiosity… reconvening as Crooks On Tape, and my god, the years happily have not spared them any of their wild inventiveness.  Every track on their lone album is a sexy reminder of a grooving NY / Chicago scene from years past, souped up with the confidence of players who are no longer experimenting, but rather assured in the weirdness they want to effect.

Oop – did you raise your eyebrow to that?  Yes, indeed, while these tracks are as close to a legit Believo! followup as we’re likely to get, the recording doesn’t land in the same way that album did; this isn’t a band latching on to a loopy zeitgeist any longer, it’s a crew of seasoned boppers playing together under a moniker, remembering what happens when you jam with abandon.  Catchy, and I listen to it more than those other Enon discs, but, admittedly, the music isn’t exactly enduring.