Remora is the project of Silber Records mogul Brian John Mitchell, a man who clearly knows a thing or two about dark, depressing music that borders between the bleak and the beautiful. For the most part, Remora's Enamored--the first Remora record in four years--finds Mitchell inspired by the same dark forces that inspire his distinctive record label. His songs fall into two distinctive categories: dark instrumental passages and bleak folk-rock. On the instrumentals, Mitchell is inspired; these passages range from violent to tranquil, and they recall the work of people as distinctive as Robin Guthrie, Sam Rosenthal and nearly every band on Kranky. (I'd give you specific names of these passages, but as the track listing is out of order with the album, it would be wrong to assume what is what.)
His non-instrumental songs, though, are quite challenging, but not necessarily in the way he probably expected. His lyrics are somewhat melodramatic, but there's no way a line like "I'd kill my way out of here/If I thought it would keep you alive" (from "Kill My Way Out of Here") could be anything but melodramatic. His singing is earnest, and when he sings "I killed my brother, it was the Fourth of July/He'd just called my mother a whore" on "Let It Die on the 4th of July," it's hard not to break out in laughter. Plus, Mitchell's voice is quite limited, and when he's being melodramatic, it's hard to resist laughing. When he doesn't oversing, such as on "Weakness-Strength," the results are excellent, but those moments are few and far between.
Though Enamored occasionally falls flat, credit must be given for his gorgeous instrumental passages, his attention to making dark atmospherics, and his distinctive record label. If he were to eschew the singing and focus on the instrumental bits, Remora's next record might be more captivating. As it stands, Enamored is a weak work from someone who could easily do better.
Artist Website: http://www.silbermedia.com/remora
Label Website: http://www.silbermedia.com