An Aarhusian band stuck between Nickelback and 3 Doors Down.
Before we do this, I should send out a small disclaimer: I don’t know Tristesse of Enola, I haven’t met the band before, and after this review, I probably never will. From what I can tell from the press photos they look like very likeable and kind people. I am sure, they put a lot of effort into putting out this album, and I feel a bit sorry about provoking with my (probably) inept und subjective criticism. But their debut album “Virtues” is one of the most mediocre records I have heard in a while.
I had no idea of what to expect when I first started playing the album. For some weird reason (it might have been the artwork, or maybe it was the band name), I somehow was expecting a Death/Black Metal album. Boy was I wrong. Short back story: Tristesse of Enola are based in Aarhus, released two EPs in 2012, and now went ahead with putting out their debut on Gateway. On Facebook, they describe their sound as a mixture between “acoustic rock, alternative country and americana”.
The album lives up to this description. But it still feels outdated. You would expect a record like that from some US American bombast-alternative-rock band that were big around the 2000er years. From 3 Doors Down maybe. Or Hoobastank. Or Staind. But I don’t know if these still are valid inspirations. Or if they, in fact, ever should have been.
Just like a Simple Plan record, “Virtues” is so sleekly produced that it has lost even the slightest hint of emotional depth and honesty. Every single song is strictly choreographed and follows the typical rock song structure: verse, bridge, chorus, repeat. Maybe throw in a little guitar solo here and there. Which in consequence means that the album has become incredibly predictable. It lacks the spontaneity, openness and vulnerability that would usually get you to identify with the artist and fall in love with the album. As for the lyrics, it seems like a combination of Papa Roach, Beyoncé, and Nickelback served as inspiration. To give you a small insight: “I’m not alone / Got me, myself, faith and a bunch of no ones / Daddy has a little whore / So cut me down clean / Watch me bleed before you”. I am not saying that Tristesse of Enola isn’t talented. I just find it hard to decide whether they are when they hide between a thick shield of cliché rock, like they do on “Virtues”.
And while at the beginning, I was still excited for the simple structures, it only took me about three or four tracks to realize that there really is nothing special or different to the whole album. It’s the kind of music that babbles out of the radio while you’re in the car, nothing more. But then again, that’s what Nickelback and 3 Doors Down ever wanted.