JOE 4 - Enola Gay

Joe 4 - Enola Gay

5 songs
16:46 minutes
***** ***


I may have never come across a band with a more nondescript name than Joe 4, but the Croatian quartet surely knows how to spice up their music. After a first demo EP, Enola Gay is their first physical release – 10-Inch vinyl and digipack CD – which has been released on the Luxembourg based label Whosbrain Records. To my endless shame, I have to admit to not being familiar with that company, despite the small size of my home country.

Joe 4 are deeply inspired by Nineties American noise rock, and while the guys probably don’t like being compared to other artists, Shellac and The Jesus Lizard are definitely two classic noise bands with a similar sound. Considering that Joe 4 will record their upcoming longplayer with Steve Albini, this should give you already quite a good impression of what to expect.

The five short songs on Enola Gay are excellent formalistic exercises in reviving an age when rock music was about energy and not about being cool and trendy. The album was recorded in Croatia, but mixed in San Francisco and mastered in Chicago. No matter who was involved, the songs all come with an excellent production that highlights the virtues of the music. The most important aspect are the tight rhythm section, with the drums and bass guitar playing together in such a precise way that the bone dry rhythms give the impression of beating you in the guts time and again. The guitar may be a little understated, but played well enough never to lose any of its subtle power. Above all you’ll hear the hoarse, brutally screamed lyrics that feel like the topping on top of this excellent musical cake.

I have a hard time picking out a favourite song, but the entire EP works perfectly from beginning to end. Enoly Gay is thus a highly promising debut of a band that might have a bright future ahead of itself. Let’s wait and see if Steve Albini will be able to coax the band to even more soaring heights. Until then, I advise every fan of Nineties US noise rock to check out this appetiser. It will leave you wanting for more!

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