So, what does a columnist for ‘London Jazz’ do when he’s not attending jazz gigs or listening to new release from the New York jazz scene? He writes, performs and records his own music under the moniker of Other Houses and releases something that mixes 2000’s indie pop, LA shoegazing and a vocal performance of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan of course.

It’s obvious when you think about it…

The man in question is Morgan Enos and he’s essentially a one-man-band playing all instruments on the five-track EP.

On first listen it isn’t stellar, the songs feel a little samey, it’s very confined within the boundaries of guitar, drums and bass but if you drop your guard for a second and allow it to creep up on you, you’ll be dragged in. The songs become catchy, almost unpopular pop, and they get under your nails and into your ears, the opening vocal of ‘Captive Audience’ feels very nostalgic, simple guitar and vocal (cleverly and subtly underpinned by double recorded backing vocals here and there) before a simple melody-following electric guitar chimes in. It reminds me of the soundtrack to American Pie (the teen angst movie, not a Don McLean classic), it’s simple and drips in Californian dreamy chill. It goes a little crazy on the final few bars, but this is fine, I like music that suddenly moves into a weird area and challenges you.

We go further back in time with ‘Jacket’s Creed’ where the music goes into mid 90’s guitar-driven indie, but not the typical Blur, Oasis or Supergrass, this is the under the counter bands of Super Furry Animals or Longpigs, with interesting chord changes and decisions. This is a perfect example of a song creepy into your ears, you’ll be humming the chorus all day without realising it.

We carry on with a similar mood on ‘Drab Vocabulary’ and ‘Arc of the Arrow’ before hitting ‘Swine Among the Relics’ with a melodic line that bugged me for hours, I couldn’t quite place it and then it struck, ‘One’ by Metallica! It’s only a small nod but I was instantly transported back to nineteen ninety something. Maybe this is the foundation of the music, it’s a tight EP – no filler, all killer as they say – with a palette rooted in the music of twenty years ago when – arguably – the musical landscape was much more diverse and interesting. Overall I liked it, perhaps it’s better than I appreciate, I do have a history of standing on the platform for too long before realising the train that just went was full of good things.

If five cleverly crafted indie/pop songs are your thing, seek it out, I doubt that you’ll be disappointed.

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Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.

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