Never let it be said there’s only one set of tastes at work here at ROTR. Ok, the fuzzed and the scuzzy come through, along with neons and indies and lo-fis, but pure pop reviews come out rarely. They only come when it’s too good to pass, when that sweet spot black magic that only pop music has works its voodoo and chews on right through. There must be something in the frontals that just can’t resist that human need for clean sweetness and sugar. So alongside the ranks of Jenny Kern and Tiny Dyno, this is Ena Mori’s ‘SOS’.
First let’s get down to the science. A higher than mid tempo pulse at the excitable end of the heart rate: Check. Quick sharp short sections that rely on repetition (but not too much to be brazen): Check. Catchy as Covid lyrical punctuations that make us feel like the song’s known in seconds: Check. Vulnerability and defiance handed out in equal measures: All boxed, ticked and checked once again. That black magic rulebook for an addict-making single is as marked, scratched and scrawled on as a hand me down English lit. text book.
And yet still it’s too hard to put down. In amongst the peppered synthwork and simplified beats, hidden down in the place where vocoders blur with autotune’s lightest corrections, there’s the pump of a heart tucked within. In the lifts and the falls, where the synths swap for keys, there’s a just exposed earthwire on show; a social conscience and fear in the machine. It might not be as explicit or as pointed and defined as the obligatory press release comparisons (insert Bush & Amos et.all), but the sly quirks and unplanned intricacies a-plenty give the tight glittered sound a sharp cut.
So lets go back to that black magic rulebook, and let’s say it concocted a formula. But instead of including only pure pop descendants it threw parts of The Knife at their brightest, parts of Japanese Breakfast and Alvvays, in with Charlie XCX gloss and Grimes bite. This makes intrigue a part of the algorithm. And right there’s why ‘SOS‘ sticks. It’s sugared and cute and appealing en masse, while being cutely and comfortably other.