Engineers – Engineers
The Echo Label
March 7, 2005
What It Sounds Like: Mellow, relaxed indie rock with touches of dream and shoegaze, perfect for a rainy night in.
I knew virtually nothing about Engineers when I picked up this record. So what drew me in? First, it’s on The Echo Label, so I was pretty hopeful that it wasn’t going to be a flat-out dud. Second, the cover artwork is wonderful. I’m a fan of that type of futuristic, modern building that looks like it has been left abandoned on a distant planet in a faraway galaxy. It reminded me of the first Unknown Mortal Orchestra record, and how much I liked that album cover.
Could I sound any more like a hipster at the moment?
The trouble that I expected to encounter here was that the songs were going to sound too similar; it was going to be next to impossible to differentiate this record from track to track the way that I was hoping for. It’s true, it does kind of mesh together. Waved On hangs on a little longer than it needs to, while Said And Done offers little variation over its almost five-minute running time. That being said though, they’re both completely enjoyable songs. I still listen to Said And Done and ask myself – why doesn’t this drag? By all rights, it should be dragging – but it’s over before I know it, and I’ve enjoyed it the whole way through.
There’s no mistaking the appeal, however, of standouts like Come In Out Of The Rain, which may be the most energetic track of the set, while still maintaining that sense of melodic flow and smooth tones, or New Horizons, which is a stargazing track if I’ve ever heard one. Forgiveness could be a Feeder b-side ballad, and seeing as though they are my favorite band, that’s gotta be saying something for my appeal of this record. Come to think of it, a lot of these tracks could be toned-down Feeder b-sides. The lyrics are simplistic and sometimes vague, and the instrumentals are slow and grand. They even let the speakers fly sometimes, like on the fairly epic closer One And Seven, which finishes in a flurry of seemingly every instrument in the studio being turned up to full volume, and while still being melodic, just powerfully exhaling themselves through the amps.
Engineers couldn’t make another record just like this – that would be the wrong move, and they would certainly fall into the pit of repetition. But I would be excited to see what direction their future records take. As of this current posting, I haven’t heard their later records (2009’s Three Fact Fader or 2010’s In Praise Of More), but I’m certainly interested in checking them out. This self titled record was a solid start.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Forgiveness / Come In Out Of The Rain