Engineers

Always Returning

K-Scope

Sep 18, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J Bookmark and Share


Engineers have done a bit of tinkering in the engine room since its third and last album, In Praise of More (2010). A round of lineup changesthe second in the U.K.-based band's history-has pared the dream pop purveyors down to a trio. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Peters retains his role as band leader with drummer Matthew Linley and renowned German electronic musician and producer Ulrich Schnauss in supporting roles. Though the essence of Engineers' sound remains intact, this fourth album is noticeably more genteel than its predecessors. Peters' wispy, double-tracked vocals float like petals on a stream. Schnauss layers in soft pastels of ambient keyboard. Linley's drum kit sounds as if it's been bubble-wrapped. On tracks such as "Searched for Answers," "Smiling Back," and "Fight or Flight," Engineers sound like Britain's answer to Air. The cloud-gliding sounds of "Innsbruck" and "Always Returning" could dispel a headache better than Aspirin. Yet, as consistently lovely as this music is, one yearns for sharper edges to break up the pervasive languid drift. As such, Always Returning lacks the boldness and thrust of Engineers' eponymously titled album (2005) and Three Fact Fader (2009). Nothing a spot of engineering couldn't fix in time for the next album. (www.facebook.com/engineersband)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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