Engineers: In praise of more (2010)

 

El tercer larga duración de los británicos Engineers es un disco algo extraño. No llega al minutaje de un álbum al uso ya que está compuesto de nueve temas. Es más bien un Ep extendido. Tras algunos cambios de formación, el sonido del grupo se ha desprendido un tanto de esa capa de guitarras que magistralmente habían utilizado en su genial Three Fact Fader (TJB, Junio, 2009). Su música se torna algo más ambiental, más orientada hacia el Dream-Pop que hacia el Shoegaze de guitarras que les caracterizó anteriormente (si exceptuamos piezas como Subtober o Press rewind); sustituyéndolas por capas en este caso de teclados (In praise of more). Si los trece temas de su anterior entrega se oían prácticamente del tirón, los nueve de esta nueva se nos antojan incluso largos para una sola escucha. El aire nostálgico e incluso algo misterioso se mantiene, pero la esencia musical se ha diluido. Los desarrollos de los temas son demasiado lentos y extesos en su duración. No se trata de un mal disco, pero su audición es bastante más ardua, y su disfrute es menor. Los cambios de personal no le han afectado positivamente ni mucho menos a los Ingenieros.

Engineers – In praise of more (2010)

“The past year has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for followers of Engineers. First there was the belated release of bold and confident Three Fact Fader, much loved by us here and by most who encountered its charms and its blend of shoegaze and Krautrock. Songs like ‘Brighter As We Fall’ showed that they were capable of mixing melody with sonic power, whilst ‘Helped By Science’ showed a lighter touch. Then came the dip – the news that Dan McBean and Andrew Sweeney had departed, announced at the start of the year. Then, the exciting revelation that Ulrich Schnauss would be joining the band, along with Matthew Linley and Manchester based Daniel Land, who has caused many a musical heart to flutter in his own group, Daniel Land and the Modern Painters.
New album In Praise of More is quite different to Three Fact Fader, a more sensual and laidback affair that places the listener in the centre of the sound, an experience that requires concentration, for the world to stop on its axis.  That is not though to say that it lacks bite. ‘To An Evergreen’ is a sinewy blend of bass and textured rhythms, bringing to mind Ultra-era Depeche Mode, all clipped guitars and guttural vocals. It sits uncomfortably in-between ‘Twenty Paces’ and ‘There Will Be Time’, magnetic pieces with a gentle ebb and flow of background percussion and guitar. It’s Nick Drake with added tremolo and echo, with a whispering, alluring vocal.
Album highlight ‘Press Rewind’ seems the culmination of all these ideas, with a powerful sucker punch of a chorus, the song beautifully arching upwards as its presence is made. It fades into glorious chimes of patterned music, drifting into the gentle picked guitar of ‘Las Vega’, shimmering guitar lines made almost buoyant by the keyboard lines set beneath it. At times, there feels to be a tangible flimsiness to this album, a collection of songs so delicate that they had to be teased out of their composers. The unnerving opening of ‘Subtober’ introduces a song of exquisite fragility, made all the more powerful as the track opens up and then dips back into brittle pieces.
There is brevity here – it feels more like an extended EP that a full blown album. Those who enjoyed the powerful moments of Three Fact Fader may be slightly disappointed by the more gentle approach found here, but that is by the by. Engineers have created an evocative album that will touch both the heart and the mind. Hopefully, the current line up with stay true to take the band into their next chapter” (thelineofbestfit.com)

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