Sunday, 7 June 2009

Engineers - Three Fact Fader

Three Fact Fader

It's been five years since this 4-piece released their debut EP (Folly) and album (Engineers) in 2004 and now, after a long period of constant on-off recording and label wranglings they finally follow it up with Three Fact Fader. Actually completed to near perfection in 2007 it has only just found its way on to the Kscope label. Fully mixed and mastered by the band along with Ken Thomas who has handled desk duties for atmospheric scene setters such as M83 and Sigur Ros, this is a band who have clearly been ahead of the curve for some time and it's maybe fitting that this has been held back until now.

Like the Horrors’ ‘Primary Colours’, Engineers have created an album that collates and collages a record collection and are not ashamed to say so. This album is 13 tracks clearly indebted to their influences but they never overshadow the band’s own character that develops across the first listen and is present form the start on subsequent replays.

The sense of a Northern grittiness and concrete hard dark urbanity at the centre of every song echoes - Mercury winners no less! - Elbow especially on their Asleep In The Back debut with an edgy, sombre sense of pace weighting the progress of the vocals. Engineers have battled the same cursed recording and label dramas that plagued that Elbow record too, so the comparison plays out further than the sound alone. The epic shimmery cinematic foregrounds that colour and texture the tracks are very much of the shoegazey revival moment; songs like the radiant Helped By Science? and swooning Brighter As We Fall are suspended in the same liquid bliss as Atlas Sound; when the sound opens out into a wider more spatial environment in Hang Your Head they echo the freewheeling headspace and druggy drone of the Dandy Warhols, and when the pace picks up with a bit more over sensitive aggression in Sometimes I Realise they display an attention to detail similar to a latter day Flaming Lips album (song title giving a little clue to the source material too). The title track features a prominent Gary Neuman-esque electro throb, and though it may be buried under layers of retroactive pillowy fuzz, it’s a cold and futuristic electro heart that beats underneath.

A really immersive and beautiful soundscape of an album made all the more satisfying for its' grounded setting at the street level of the city.

Engineers - Clean Coloured Wire
Engineers - Brighter As We Fall

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