Despite being a relatively obscure act in the grand scheme of the alternative music industry, the mere mention of Norway’s Aiming For Enrike will incite emotions of overexcitement from many across the globe. Whilst their dedicated fanbase may be due to their mentally and physically stimulating live shows, Aiming For Enrike have been frequently lauded due to their refusal to adhere to a singular genre. Yes, Aiming For Enrike sit comfortably within the post rock and math rock echelon, but as proved time and time again throughout the decade passed, they scoff at the notion of genre norms.
Each respective record from the Oslo two piece has seen the act experiment with new sounds, explore new aesthetics and probe new techniques; all whilst retaining a distinctive and unique personality. Their dotted fans don’t just welcome change and evolution with each passing release – they expect it. As anticipated, the group’s latest and fourth full length, Music For Working Out, see’s Aiming For Enrike embracing a new musical territory once more, with the band now looking into the realm of dance for inspiration.
Whilst initially surprising and thrilling, the group’s new detour into dance orientated post-rock won’t be too much of a shocking revelation for many. In 2017, Aiming For Enrike flirted with elements of dance and synthpop groove with their third record Las Napalmas. Clearly however, this flirtation was more than just a passing potential romance. Album opener ‘Christmas Eve’, whilst thankfully not festive in the slightest, immediately pulls the listener into the strobing environment that Music For Working Out soundtracks. Distorted and strained riffs pulsate alongside repetitive loops that shift and transform against boosted subs. It immediately becomes clear that Music For Working Out is the soundtrack for the most contemporary of vibrantly illuminated dancefloors.
Whereas this new direction is certainly bold and brave, as with every new experiment and fresh endeavour Aiming For Enrike ensure their identity and lovable personal charm is palpable. The communal sound within this record may be a slight contrast to the madcap time signatures within 2012’s Mao Miro for example, but it’s still evidently the work of the same band. A grand success when considered, mainly due to the fact that Music For Working Out is by far the band’s most accessible and universally appealing music to date. The sidewinding and slight musical bewilderment of old is substituted with a sense of reaching welcomeness, and yet, complexity and the frantic urgency remain prominent.
For example, the brilliantly named ‘Don’t Hassle The Hoff’ animates thoughts of the golden days of clubbing whilst ensuring a sense of borderline urgency remains underlining, with frantic and seizing synths creeping in as the track progresses. It’s still a bonafide hit prepped for the dancefloor, but the experimentation with tonal shifts and paces ensure the consumer is engaged throughout the looping repetition that holds the record together.
Yet, despite the aim to deliver experimentation among expected reputation, Aiming For Enrike inherently focus on atmosphere and danceability above all else with Music For Working Out. The outrun tinged ‘Infinity Rider’, ‘Hard Dance Brainia’ and the slow building assembly of ‘Flat Beats’ adhere to keeping the technicolour aesthetic buoyant and inviting. There are moments where this record does deter from this decree, with the intoxicated and raving ‘Ponzu Saiko’ referencing thoughts of unhinged chemical euphoria, but the neon kissed aura of this record is by far it’s most prominent and defining feature.
Aiming For Enrike may have animated hues of dance in the past but to witness the band release an entire record dedicated to the fluorescent blessed ambience of the discotheque is certainly unprecedented. Yet, Music For Working Out is another fantastic offering of fervent ingenuity and genre dynamism that perfectly sits among the albums that precedes it. Whilst this isn’t a record that provides cheap and instant gratification, for those who want something new to bask and drink in, Music For Working Out is something that provides something unique.
Music For Working Out is out Friday 10th January via Pekula Records