Brock Enright & Kirsten Deirup’s “Torben”

“Enright’s album sounds like something my younger brother wrote in the eighth grade. ” -SB

Guest Writer

out of 10

Brock Enright
June 28, 2010

Brock Enright and Kirsten Deirup’s Torben had a great open. It started with the pulsing rhythms that are fitting of a good road trip song. And, after hearing the first few songs, there was a moment when I was going to give this album a solid thumbs up, but that was before I heard “Ouijaboard.” I enjoyed Enright on “Maybe” and “Runwild,” but any merit I had given him and this album diminished the moment this track came on.

This song combines a bizarre mix of layers of babies laughing to what I can only assume is Enright singing in the voice of someone who hasn’t graduated their Huggie Trainers… or someone recording the new track for the latest chipmunk movie. It is atrocious. I have no idea what this song is trying to accomplish, but—and I’m stretching my years of learning how to critique someone in art school without making them cry—maybe Enright is trying to make a statement on childhood and the reality that Superman isn’t super at all. (I make this stretch of a connection from the opening line, which I managed to discern through the horrible noise of a voice, “Superman, come take my hand/ Please take me to da motherf***ing promised land.”) The song continues with the lines “He f***ed a queen/ and da queen f***cked a king/ then dey had tiny wittle baby f***cking machines/ ouijaboard, ouijaboard/ you’re my friend ’til dee end.” And the whole song, as if I need to remind you, is sung by an adult singing like a character from Rugrats, purposely mispronounced words and all. Don’t forget the continuous layer of a toddler maniacally laughing in the background.

I allowed myself to finish this album, though I’m not quite sure how. It was alright, but I couldn’t get “Ouijaboard” out of my head. It did give me cause to more fully listen to the lyrics on the second go round. I had been focusing on the music initially, but then I felt ridiculously like one of the students I teach–the ones who listen to Gucci Mane “for the beats not the words,” the ones who are nine and sing Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” with no idea of what they are singing.

Enright’s album sounds like something my younger brother wrote in the eighth grade. The beats and melodies, while in some places catchy and hitting upon truly good, cannot make me like this album. If “Ouijaboard” had been cut from the final version, I might not have finished reviewing this album with such a harsh ear. I would have continued to listen to it with half an ear and probably ignored the places it didn’t quite do much in favor of the crooks and bends of the album that actually had me tapping my toes. “Ouijaboard” was included, though, and has made me incapable of saying anything else. I’m sending in this review and deleting this album. (Okay, I’m keeping “Maybe” and “Runwild,” and that is the only reason this album is getting a 3.5.)

–Sarah Bates, July 13, 2010