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Ennui is one of those bands that you see and wonder what they’re doing in Pittsburgh. not that Pittsburgh isn’t host to a bevy of great bands. You could see a fantastic show every night of the week in the ‘burgh, though you’ll likely be the only one there. But Ennui is a band that doesn’t seem to have a scene here in Pittsburgh. They’re not rock. They’re not punk. They’re barely even indie. But they’ve got something going on that is so worth your while that you will feel like a fool when they hit it big and you never saw them in your hometown.

Ennui is a four piece that relies on the piano prowess of songwriter Jim Doutrich and the Radiohead-esque guitar/noise effects of Dan Burgun. Added to that mix is Tori Fulkerson on bass and Christopher McDonald on drums. Their sound is intense; in the mold of Sigur Ros, they create a mosaic of otherworldly vocals and noise. Heated piano parts build a framework for experimental guitar noise and right-on riffs. Drum and bass do exactly what they should. Drawing to mind Coldplay and rainy days spent in the garret writing poetry, Ennui delivers highly produced, emotion-driven pop songs heavy with swells and peaks.

Ennui has a strong background in classical music – all members have degrees or are currently seeking them in classical or jazz music. “Having all this knowledge gives us an edge,” says Doutrich. “[But] we certainly don’t want to be known as this school musician band. I spent all my life writing songs without knowing what I was doing. Now I’m spending time catching up on the technical aspect.”

Their debut EP, Inchoate (2004), has received quite a bit of national radio play, an impressive feat for an unsigned band. They’re in regular rotation in Boston, Denver, Salt Lake City and Texas. Ennui also plays for crowds of 300 or more in Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Boston. Perhaps this will be the summer that Pittsburgh discovers what it already has. - Hallie Pritts -

"Ennui @ The North Star - Philadelphia"

Tuesday night, and those who were not still too hung over from the holiday weekend headed back to the bar to see Ennui headlining with the Redwalls at the North Star in Philadelphia, PA. Currently in the midst of their summer tour, Ennui will be making appearances at several locations in the Pittsburgh area as well as in Ohio , Maryland and New York .

The band is the long standing dream of front man Jim Doutrich, a dream fully realized only a little over a year ago when the band’s current lineup finally fell into place and started getting serious about making music. Ennui is currently composed of Jim Doutrich, putting his fingers to the keys and his lips to the mike, Christopher McDonald on drums, Tori Fulkerson on bass and Dan Burgun filling in the empty spaces on lead guitar.

However, none of the band’s members confine themselves to one instrument. Even during the performance, Burgun occasionally let his guitar hang at his waist and put his fingers to the keys. And Doutrich, in turn, sat back from his piano to bang out several chords on the guitar.

The night proved to be a disappointing turn out. But despite this, Ennui’s performance was anything but disappointing. They opened the set filling the bar with the ethereal sound of keyboards and laptop, perfecting the transcendental experience of Echoes’ Living Room Classics . But then they went in another direction entirely.

Mixing melancholy with angst, Doutrich began to pound out a few jazzy chords on the piano complimented by Burgan’s experimental noise guitar. And Fulkerson picked up the low end with a simple, but funky bass line. Her contentment with simplicity demonstrates that she, unlike many bass players these days, has the maturity to recognize that silence is much more powerful than pounding out as many notes as possible.

The show went forward from there, McDonald causing a ruckus on the drums, Burgun pulling noises never heard before out of his guitar and Doutrich overlaying it all with the melancholy vibrations of his voice, speaking to the crowd as much through the melody as the lyrics. By the end of the set, the crowd had completely forgotten their sadness at leaving behind the Memorial Day beaches and were only lamenting that the show was over and there were only two hours left until closing time.

Ennui showed themselves to be not only accomplished musicians, but also proven performers. Though the crowd seemed less than listless with post-holiday boredom, Ennui nevertheless came on strong, overcoming the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm with the energy of their performance. The music is impressive in itself, but it is the passion with which Ennui plays that makes them truly engaging.

Comparable to bands such as Radiohead, Coldplay and Lovedrug, Ennui brings their own to what has already been done for a sound that’s definitely worth checking out. You can find their new five song ep, Inchoate , online at www.ennuimusic.com.

-Nathan Weaver 06/01/05 - Nathan Weaver - "One Times One"


Inchoate EP (2004) is our only release to date. Our next EP Cry, is scheduled to be released in June 2006. "Time & Place" and "Ruckus" from the Inchoate EP have received much airplay in specialty radio across the country, even charting in June 2005.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Ennui began with the confluence of four friends and acquaintances who shared a penchant for strong melody, noisy experimentation and shoegazing atmosphere. Forming in the summer of 2004, the band has quickly built a strong following in the Pittsburgh area, as well as Philadelphia and the areas in-between. While guitarist Dan Burgun and drummer/keyboardist Christopher McDonald alternate between creating subtle ambience and dense noise, singer Jim Doutrich and bassist Tori Fulkerson keep their feet rooted in pop firma, thus generating a solid harmonic and melodic foundation, while venturing into sonic dimensions not explored by most rock bands. Ennui's rigorous touring schedule has taken them throughout the eastern and mid-western parts of the United States, performing at such notable venues as The North Star in Philadelphia, The Knitting Factory in New York, the Onopa Brewery in Milwaukee, and Common Grounds in Gainesville. The band has also received a significant amount of airplay on specialty radio. Our new EP, Cry, is coming out in May and was recorded at Engine Studios in Chicago with producer/engineer extraordinairre, Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Califone, Iron & Wine).