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Bob Enns and Paul Bezooyen proudly present their EP


Review by Dave Morrison:

Just when I thought that 2020 couldn’t get any stranger, along come simpatico Vancouver Island singer-songwriters Bob Enns and Paul Bezooyen to issue what is unquestionably the most deviant release yet on the latter’s DIY label, The Hermit’s Music.  Without wishing to narrowly pigeonhole its catalogue, to this point the imprint had principally issued gentle, acoustic, folk-rooted material, but in every way this 5-track Electro Jam EP totally turns that notion on its head.

For starters, look at the title: before knowing anymore about the release it would be reasonable to assume that Enns and Bezooyen have discovered Roland TR-808 drum machines and gone all synth-pop on our asses.  Not in the grand, beautiful scheme of diverse musical creation that there would be anything wrong with such a scenario, but, unsurprisingly, that is not the case.  Rather, even if not directly intended, the title is a nifty means of instantly informing fans of The Hermit’s Music’s activities that what you are about to hear is an entirely different beast from the label’s ‘usual fare.’  Still not having heard a note, the EP’s whimsical artwork is another blindingly obvious indicator that a quite different vibe dwells within.  Joyously created in her signature style of vivid primary colours by the Comox Valley’s Naomi ‘SuperArtGirl’ teWinkel, an amusing cartoon portrait of the two musicians adorns the sleeve, not only serving as further evidence of a divergent sonic approach on this particular release, but also as a plain-as-day illustration of the fun these lads had creating its content.

So, that’s the ‘shock’ factors dealt with, but what of the songs?  Well, indeed, the electro of the title refers simply to the fact that the songs are built around electric guitars – so not the usual unplugged modus operandi for any artist on Bezooyen’s label.  And as the title further expands upon, everything here blossomed from the two pals jamming for the sheer joy of it, with the result of winter 2019-20 sessions distilled into the five neat songs comprising the EP.

Even more interesting about this material is that, although they all have vocals, the tracks were composed as instrumentals to house just a verse or two.  It’s an innovative idea, that by training a spotlight on the music itself the vocals act more as an adornment or, if you will, an additional instrument, rather than being the focus.  That said, as succinctly illustrated in the direct ecological message of We Can Do Better, the lyrics are certainly not throwaway.

Mr. Saturday Night kicks things off and bears lyrics both written and sung by fellow songwriter, Lorraine Baron.  A laidback, jazz-tinged pop song, as with the rest of the 17-minute EP it features a crisp lead guitar tone reminiscent of Mark Knopfler.  Up next, the title Perfect Harmony serves as a metaphor for a harmonious long-term relationship then, on Sun Up, the musical influence of the mighty (Aja and Gaucho era) Steely Dan makes its presence felt.  Following We Can Do Better, the tongue-in-cheek closing track, Mama Said, offers up a gentle Latin shuffle and a lyrical reminder that, as often as we may think they do not, mothers always know best, so heed their sage advice.

 WARNING: This EP may cause random impulses to dance and sing.