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Make It To The Show: EnumclawAeroplane Icon
Adam McKinney
December 08, 2022
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Enumclaw | Saturday, Dec. 10

Around these parts, whenever bands evoke the sounds of the ‘90s, it’s almost always through the prism of American alt-rock and grunge – two movements that still loom large in the landscape of the Pacific Northwest music scene. It’s a little surprising, then, that despite the similarities Tacoma shares with blue-collar British hotbeds of ‘90s rock, like Manchester and Sheffield, Britpop is a genre that seems to receive little to no homage in our neck of the woods. Bands like Blur, Pulp, Suede, and Oasis came to define Britpop, bringing anthem-ready tunes and working-class grit to the airwaves.

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It’s something of a breath of fresh air, then, to see Tacoma four-piece Enumclaw refer to themselves as “the best band since Oasis,” and have it not feel like just a fleeting, jokey comparison. After debuting in early 2021, Enumclaw immediately started gathering steam and getting attention, which can only be chalked up to the strength of those initial demos. Despite being a young band, formed quickly and catapulted to notoriety even quicker, Enumclaw has the swagger and songwriting prowess usually found in comfortably successful bands.

The only bells and whistles to be found in the fuzzy, anthemic songs of Enumclaw come from frontman Aramis Johnson, a uniquely charismatic presence. Johnson and his bandmates Ladaniel Gipson, Nathan Cornell, and Eli Edwards, have a knack for organically building up drama in their songs, upping the sonic intensity until they crash into a cathartic wall of sound. Their debut LP, Save The Baby – released just this past October – is full of these kinds of moments, with hearts open wide to match the fullness of the sound. v

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It’s this innate sincerity that most clearly separates them from much of the Britpop ethos, much of which carried with it a distancing, sardonic edge. On Save The Baby, it’s not uncommon to hear snippets of Johnson speaking extemporaneously on mic as a song fades out – little fly-on-the-wall glimpses into Johnson’s mindset as Enumclaw was preparing to take their next big step forward as a band. “The music, the words, the guitar, the melody – it means so much to me,” Johnson can be heard saying as the achingly beautiful “Paranoid” reaches its conclusion. 

It’s not all balladry, though, even though the sentiment might be there. “Cowboy Bebop” is just as full of interpersonal struggles as the rest of Enumclaw’s tracks, but it’s electrified by a driving beat and searing guitars. Through it all, Johnson’s lead vocals remain rough around the edges, just polished enough to keep a firm hand on the material, but without any frills to distract from the message of the songs. As David Byrne once said, “The better a singer’s voice, the harder it is to believe what they’re saying,” which is not meant to damn with faint praise, but to highlight how unerringly honest Enumclaw comes across.

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Next year, Enumclaw will find themselves touring the UK, hitting those same sounds that produced the bands that left their mark on Johnson and company’s music. From there, who knows? It might just get a little bit harder to catch them for the kind of intimate show they’ll be having here this Saturday, but it’ll always be thrilling to see a Tacoma band find success the world ‘round.

Enumclaw, w/ Milly, Fish Narc

All Ages, Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm, $15 ADV, $20 DOS

ALMA Venue

1322 Fawcett Ave

Buy Tickets

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