The essence of Enda may lie in skirting the line between ostensible opposites. First off, the San Francisco quartet's sound is tough to pin down. Though Enda defy comparison with any singular band, they effortlessly intertwine the gothic atmosphere of the Cure, the alt-rock power and swagger of the Smashing Pumpkins, the dream-core sensibilities of Lush, and the dark ambiance of A Perfect Circle and latter-day Deftones. One factor in Enda's varied musical style may lie in the group's racially-diverse mix of two men and two women. Enda's guitarists/vocalists/songwriters Valerie Moorhead and Jennifer Yee formed The Vicious Sweet in high school and went on to release the album Obsessively Yours with various temporary musicians. After streamlining and stabilizing the lineup of the girls' old band with the addition of Dan Aquino on drums and Joey Clark on bass, Enda emerged onto the Bay Area's music scene in 1999 recording their debut EP Spacious. The band enjoyed rave reviews from publications such as the Bay Guardian, while SF scenesters began flocking to Enda's live shows, mesmerized by Valerie's hypnotic stage presence and the band's focused readings of their songs. Enda also earned fans through their unique vibe, an amalgamation of the group's far-ranging influences. Blackheart Procession, Weezer, and At The Drive In-apparently at distant corners of pop music's spectrum-equally captivate Valerie. This may be because the frontwoman's inspiration stems from a mood or a feeling, rather than from any particular band or flavor du jour. This inclusive mindset balances the black with the white, creating pensive grays-sometimes angry, often wounded, frequently hopeful, but always rife with genuine feeling. Grounding such philosophical dichotomies, though, is simply a collection of great songs. Vocal harmonies whisper in secret conversation, only to dovetail and leap playfully the next moment. Guitars groan alternately in agony and ecstasy, as Enda's rhythm section directs the band's expressive dynamic, guiding the ebb and flow. The foursome's latest songs demonstrate even more promise, poise, and power than ever; the artful arrangements, fecund lyrics, and range of emotion will shape an eagerly anticipated forthcoming album, set to turn heads and make waves. - matt kalinowski.