My Enemy Complete
Category: Industrial / Rock
Album: Curving Back Within
Blurb: Drawing on the best elements of the band’s past releases to make for a poignant blend of alt. rock aggression and electro-pop accessibility, this third album from the DC act may be My Enemy Complete’s best effort yet.
As a music listener, there’s something immensely satisfying about being able to trace a band’s evolutionary trajectory over the course of several years and album releases, and noticing the forward strides made by that band toward a fuller, more developed, and hopefully better sound. Such is the case with Washington, DC’s My Enemy Complete, whose latest album showcases some of the group’s strongest material and highest production values yet. The self-titled 2010 debut album exhibited a band whose members were in transition, coming together after the dissolution of 51 Peg and Chrysalis to create a sound that would blend their respective strengths into a coldly aggressive yet warmly melodic machine rock entity. With 2013’s The Symmetry of Realizing, keyboardist Tim Phillips – also a veteran of several electro rock and pop bands in the local scene – was brought on board, resulting in a sound that was slightly more saccharine and certainly more danceable without sacrificing the band’s established industrial/rock heaviness. With the appropriately titled Curving Back Within, My Enemy Complete seems to strive for a more polished balance of the two styles, making for an album that adheres to all aspects of what audiences have heard from the band thus far, while also pushing forward to carve its own special niche in modern music. “Weakness in Numbers” sets the stage with an energetic and infectious synth riff doubled by Carlo Pizarro’s guitars and underscored by Brian Fasani’s powerful drumming for added potency, Bilaal Y’s emotive and harmonious voice soaring with an almost operatic grandeur. As on the past albums, the band’s penchant for accessible hooks and pop sensibilities is quite apparent, with the title track being a prime example – crystalline guitar lines intertwine with whiplash rhythms and ambient synth textures, Bilaal’s voice resonating with an anthemic and melodious quality that delivers the poignancy of lines like “I keep you safe from harm, I keep you safe from pain,” and “Gives me hope to find another fucking day.” Some songs like “Sublimate” or “Cold Embrace” hearken to the previous album with their bouncy electronics, vibrant beats, and shimmering guitar lines, the latter track featuring some marvelous string arpeggio flourishes for a classical flavor that suits the inherent catchiness of the melodies, while “Erase You,” “The Cleansing,” or “Anti-Self” could fit nicely on the self-titled debut with their more mechanical, slightly monotone atmosphere and straightforward rock attitude, the latter once again lyrically referencing the band’s name with “You make my enemy complete.” Curving Back Within is further proof that My Enemy Complete may be one of the Washington, DC scene’s best kept secrets, with an intensity of passionate performance and pristine production that deserves to be heard by a more widespread audience; the songs blend all of the most appealing elements of alt. rock and electro-pop with the steely menace of industrial added in small but strong measures, showcasing all of My Enemy Complete’s musical strengths to result in what is probably the band’s best effort yet.