Save The Baby by Enumclaw album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions


Save The Baby


“Why don’t you ever show it / If it’s really on your mind? / And I wasn’t being heroic / I just spoke my mind.” “You should have it quoted / Say it all the time / I will be, I will be / Who I’m destined to be,” Aramis Johnson sings on his band, Enumclaw’s, grungy, catchy, 90’s reminiscent, debut album, Save The Baby, produced by Gabe Wax, who’s worked with the likes of Soccer Mommy and Fleet Foxes. The lyric captures both the honest humility and full-grown superstar aspirations of a self-taught band out of the poorer neighborhoods of Tacoma, Washington but who claim (half tongue-in-cheek) that they are “The Best Band Since Oasis.”

Where Oasis, who claimed that they were gonna be “bigger than the Beatles”, tried their hardest to mimic the Beatles’ sound, Enumclaw have their own bare-bones sound that is more like indie stalwarts Sebadoh or Pavement than Oasis, with a bit more emo thrown into the mix. The songs could easily be categorized as emo, from a lyrical perspective. Like when Johnson, who lost his dad at the age of ten and whose mom had to walk miles to her job at a local Subway, sings, “When it happened to me / It hurt so bad / I couldn’t give you all that I had / I wish I had a dad.”

Always having aspirations to be a musician, but taking a 180 from hip-hop and DJing a few years ago to writing garage indie rock with his friends (including, like Oasis, his brother, Eli Edwards), Johnson hopes with the album to show the black community that there are many roads to success, to getting out of your broken home town and your difficult past. “I just wanna wake up brand new,” he sings on the album opener and title track, a theme which appears again and again on the album, something that he is singing into existence, for himself, and hopefully many others.

“Save the Baby,” Johnson says, is about saving himself, and the simple confessional lyrics which may seem naive, at times, are full of power because of his vulnerability and self-love, saying things many of his peers must feel, but hide behind machoism, drug addiction, or out-right depression. The album is at many times sad, because of the honesty, recounting things that Johnson regrets and struggles with, including bad decisions and relationship failures, but the album as a whole, in lyrics and in sound, is buoyed by hope.

Like Johnson says on the closing song, an acoustic number, “But hey, you got one last chance / Why not give it all that you have?” I think many people, the right people, will be quoting his “unheroic” quotables, and finding themselves going in the direction of their dreams. The album is receiving good press, and while the story of the album, in my opinion, is a bit more powerful than the err-on-the-side of-simplistic music, (especially if they’re looking to fill arenas,) they’re a young band who shows a great deal of songwriting and performance talent and promise.

Order Save The Baby by Enumclaw HERE


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