"On what is likely one of the more anticipated releases in her local scene in 2014, Can’t Kids leader Adam Cullum seems intent on delivering something a bit different than the group’s well-received debut Brushes Touches Tongues. While the group hasn’t exactly abandoned their self-described brand of “Southern Gothic cheerleader metal” that seemed so startlingly refreshing in 2012, there does seem to a deliberate sense of stepping back, leaving the songs a bit more open and making the lyrics a bit more pensive than that raucous effort. On a number of efforts here, including the album’s bookends “Oh Momma” and “Oh Adam” and the album’ centerpiece, the hauntingly bereft “You Don’t Plan,” the songs mostly features a pretty cello line from Amy Cuthbertson and Cullum’s quiet fingerpicking and plaintive vocals at the expense of the two members who bring much of the dynamism to the band, bassist Henry Thomas and drummer/second vocalist Jessica Oliver, who tend to only appear on the back end of these tunes. In keeping with that feel, Oliver, who used to be almost a co-leader in the group, seems to have taken more of a backseat in these sessions, sounding more like a traditional harmony singer than ever before. Only two songs here—the rollicking pop-punk number “More Soda” and the Modest Mouse-y “Late for Lunch”—see her and the band up to their old tricks. While some fans are likely to be put off by the left turn, Ennui Go actually makes for a better listen than Brushes. The two raucous rockers break-up some of the more singer/songwriter material nicely, and the band is mostly finding a sweet spot between the two extremes, finding a buoyant pop bounce on tunes like “The Calm” and “The Twist” that feels different, but every bit as singular, as their early material. And Cullum has always been a brilliant songwriter, alternatively astutely honest and self-reflective and caustic and cackling. He still occasionally shows his love of Isaac Brock a bit too much on his sleeve, but his misanthropy never reaches his hero’s dire levels—instead, Cullum always seems to write, even when he is engaging in casual wordplay or humor, with a keen desire to figure out, however bleakly, the world around him.
With a short running time and a quieter, humbler approach, it would be too easily to think this is a sophomore slump. I would argue, instead, that not only is it a stronger and more cohesive effort, it is also exactly the kind of record Can’t Kids needed to make to grow and mature as a band." – Kyle Petersen
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