Your Favourite Enemies - Between Illness And Migration album review

Abundant, if scattershot, musicality from …Trail Of Dead heads.

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Fresh from a stint as Conrad Keely’s backing band, and citing everything from Fugazi (the punk band) to Noir Désir as an influence, the scale of ambition involved in this Canadian six-piece’s fourth album (released in deluxe, expanded form here) is clear. However, the pursuit of these sprawling musical threads sometimes exposes a band struggling to pin down its identity. They’re at their best when they relax into the expansive experimentation of Satsuki Yami (My Heartbeat) and Anyone, taking prompts from Explosions In The Sky’s soaring, euphoric post-rock, Tool’s structured prog-metal riffing and chucking in elements of shoegaze, psych and math rock.

It’s when they attempt radio-friendly verse-chorus-verse singles that they come unstuck, resulting in the weak spots that are the album’s singles (Where Did We Lose Each Other, I Just Want You To Know). Mixing duty falls to experimental grunge-era producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr), but a couple of fuzzy guitars aside, his influence isn’t obvious. A shame, as the injection of more grit – particularly to Alex Foster’s preened vocal – combined with their abundant musicality would have added a greater sense of depth.