Half hipster-disco dance party, half spirited guitar-pop romp, the latest disc from Enon dials up a user-friendly combination of new-wave/no-wave electroshock therapy, vocoder-laced synth-funk, and teenage-kicks rock action. Guitarist John Schmersalís previous band, Braniac (brought to a tragic end by the automobile death of singer Tim Taylor), were heirs to the Pere Ubu shroud, self-consciously difficult and wired for obscurity. But now Schmersal has stripped away the corrosive irritants and left only a bright, magnetic sheen. His "Window Display" and "Sold!" are straightforward pop songs not too far removed from the Matthew Sweet mold. Even when heís at his most frenetic, a top-gear pass at "Pleasure and Privilege," his guitar squawk comes closer to White Stripes than to Gang of Four.
The rhythm section from the first Enon disc ó Steve Calhoun and Rick Lee of NYC avant-junk-rockers Skeleton Key ó has taken its leave. And much of the fun on High Society can be traced to the arrival of singer/bassist Toko Yasuda. Until now, Yasuda has been best known for holding down the dour Kim Deal role in Sonic Youth clones Blonde Redhead, but here she discovers her inner bombshell and delivers demure, detached sex-kitten lead vocals on a handful of the discís brightest tunes. On "Salty," the pièce de resistance, her voice slips in an out of focus over Le CarĖstyle old-school romper-room electro; on "In This City," she turns breathy chanteuse over a glitchy breakbeat and interstellar g-funk synth. And the brief interlude "Disposable Parts" finds her dueting with paranoid androids from planet Daft Punk.
(Enon play T.T. the Bearís Place next Thursday, June 6. Call 617-492-BEAR.)