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May 17, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Open the front door of this white house on Paris Road, and transport onstage with Enemy Airship. Band member Michael Hopkins’ small would-be dining room transforms into the practice space for the local post-rock group, which formed last summer.
The four-member band, all in their late 20s, evolved from the remains of the band Nonreturner and added keyboardist and guitarist Ben Chlapek. The group’s atmospheric rock and shoegaze sound relies heavily on spacey effect pedals. The band’s influences include Deerhunter, Broken Social Scene and The Smiths.
Thursday nights are set aside for band practice. For two hours, the group huddles together in the small room stacked with amplifiers, guitars, cases, pedals and cords tangled across the floor.
Vocalist and guitarist Zach Biri tells drummer Logan Epps to count off for the next song. The music starts, and in a Thom Yorke-esque style, Biri sings along with a voice more like another instrument than an outlet for lyrics. His clean black Chuck Taylors tap against the guitar pedals as the song progresses.
Chlapek switches from keys to guitar, adding the ambient, synthetic noise common in post-rock. Epps’ drumming is focused and calculated, each beat working alongside the song’s other elements.
Enemy Airship is noisy and fluid. Almost always in the key of D, each song flows into the next. With a nonlyrical focus, the band’s instruments tell the story with their highs, lows, pauses and reverberations.
The music escapes the confines of the house and allows anyone outside to get a taste of the band’s live show.
When they head to the porch for a break, the band members are joined by the occasional passerby. After the May 5 release of its latest EP, The Slow Suggestive, the band is eager to begin work on its next album.
The members are close friends and have come to feed off one another’s musical vision. They work hard to maintain a democracy and play as equals with no clear frontman. “We are a band of Georges and a Kramer,” Biri says, comparing the band dynamic to Seinfeld characters. “No one is really Seinfeld.”