Engineers – In Praise of More

A joy to behold

Engineers could easily be accused of being as somnolent as their music. After an impressive reinterpretation of early 90’s shoegaze on their self titled 2005 debut, there was nothing. They disappeared until last years follow up ‘Three Fact Fader’, an album recorded soon after the debut but due to internal record label politics the album was subject to a four year delay.

Engineers’ third album is the first with a new line up featuring German electronica whiz Ulrich Schnauss and the difference is abundantly clear. His influence is felt immediately as he washes over Engineers musical magic with his brand of glitchy electronica. ‘In Praise of More’ has them stripping back the density of previous releases, letting in a little warmth and allowing the songs breathe resulting in a broadening of their sound much to their benefit.

Opener ‘What It’s Worth’ sets the pace; ethereal, almost drowsy, the synths enveloping the gentle strumming of guitars and warm backing vocals. ‘Subtober’ picks up the pace slightly with its insistent chugging guitar riffs and bass guitar stabs and ‘Lasvega’ features classic yearning vocals underpinned by melancholic acoustic guitars and more of Schnauss’ gorgeous synth play reminiscent of early Sigur Ros.

Best track on offer is ‘To An Evergreen’, a funereal stomper the heart of which is sliced open with mesmerising keyboards lines and icy guitar riffs, like Chapterhouse or Catherine Wheel with the benefit of improved machinery.

And the lyrics? Well, this is shoegaze; do you think anyone has broken down the lyrics to Slowdive’s ‘Souvlaki’ album? Simon Phipps vocals are so far down in the mix, they are incidental, they are another layer of the music, complimenting each other perfectly. It’s not all go-slow down the indie club, the title track and single is a deceptively boisterous rock out replete with techno bleeps culminating in a crescendo of white, but polite, noise showing that they can rock out with the best of them, just not very often.

This is an album damp with tears, slightly shaken by angst and should be given to most UK bands around at the moment to use as an example in making an album that is a joy to behold.


Words by Chris Todd

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