The Engineers (from England) carved a niche in the revival movement of the 2000s
by aiming for a subdued form of
Verve-style luxuriant psychedelic pop
of the 1990s.
Engineers (2004) epitomized the essence of the genre with
the delicate dirges Home, Forgiveness and
Come In Out Of The Rain (perhaps the standout)
but at the same time drained it of its vital energy.
The influence of the
languid melodies of Coldplay and
Snow Patrol was felt on even slower numbers
such as New Horizons and Said And Done.
Overall, it was a monotonous experience, despite the occasional detour
(the syncopated electronic beats of Let's Just See, the noisy shoegazing
crescendo of One In Seven, and especially
the one soaring refrain of the album, Thrasher),
as sleepy strings and permanently comatose vocals did not do much to rescue
the melodies from their torpor.
Three Fact Fader (Echo, 2009) marked a progression towards a more
vibrant and less whining sound, notably with
the driving quasi-techno beat and the Verve-ian
melody of Clean Coloured Wire,
with the biting riff of
Sometimes I Realise, which was almost power-pop by their standards,
with the gallopping vertigo of Emergency Room,
with the twisted swirling Beach Boys imitation of What Pushed Us Together,
and with the trance-y Hang Your Head, that sounds like a
whispered cover of early Pink Floyd over
Alas, International Dirge indulged in the same anemic spleen of the
debut, and Brighter As We Fall sank in the same sleepy lounge atmosphere
of Come In Out Of The Rain before exploding in a shoegazing bacchanal.
This time there was more variety and ideas, but too many songs sounded like
After replacing the rhythm section and adding
German veteran Ulrich Schnauss
on electronic keyboards, Engineers penned the monotonous languor of
In Praise Of More (Echo, 2010).
The propulsing ping-pong beat of In Praise Of More stands out, but
it is the exception to the rule.
The rest is rapidly sucked into a syrupy spiderweb.
The gentle litany Subtober is emblematic: despite having the best melody
of the batch, it is still a pale kin of the heights of shoegaze-pop.
The distorted guitar riff of Press Rewind,
and the soaring synth lines of To An Evergreen
feel like flotsam after the wreckage: they are just left to drift away.
The songs are often too lightweight for anything other than background muzak.
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