shimmering and grandiose, the perfect soundtrack to life seen in soft-focus...
Jon Thomson

15:05 28th July 2009

It’s been four long years since Engineers released their eponymous debut, so why the hold up? Well, aside from time-consuming side projects, the group suffered a major delay when they became victims of label difficulties that left their second effort hanging in the balance. Thankfully, continued interest in the group motivated the band to finally complete the follow-up - ‘Three Fact Fader’.
Upon its release ‘Engineers’ found near universal acclaim amongst critics, even spawning a top 50 single – ‘Forgiveness’. Unfortunately for them, back in 2005 “shoe-gazing” was still considered a dirty word amongst many. As luck would have it, the reformation of genre god-fathers My Bloody Valentine has seen a renaissance of interest in said genre and the splintered musical landscape of today seems a much more open minded place. What with shoe-gazing now seeing a revival of sorts, perhaps the scene is set for greater things for Engineers.
Opener, and lead single, ‘Clean Coloured Wire’, is quick to set the mood of the album. Ambient electronic flutters combine with pulsating beats, driven bass and ethereal vocals, immediately drawing the listener into its hypnotic, psychedelic pulse. The chorus is pitched perfectly - euphoric and prominent enough to cut through the mix without being over-bearing and disrupting the trance-like feel.
With the sound and character established the group pursue the rhythmic ambience throughout the album. Stand out tracks such as ‘Song for Andy’ and Sigur Ros-esque “The Fear Has Gone’ wash over you, evoking unknown sentiments and encouraging the mind to conjure vivid, expressive images – a characteristic clearly symbolic of the effectiveness of the layered of sounds.
As with most albums so heavily invested in creating and maintaining a “sound” tracks are notably similar, all simply structured, yet richly textured. This is by no means a flaw; on the contrary, in this instance it’s the mark of a band that have produced an album rather than a collection of songs. Engineers’ strength lies in their ability to work soundscapes into hazy, dream-like songs - even the delivery and pace of the vocals are aptly, near whispered, managing to sound both intimate and detached.
Simultaneously subtle and vast ‘Three Fact Fader’ is an album you can immerse yourself in. It’s shimmering, grandiose and, as all shoe-gaze should be, the perfect soundtrack to life seen in soft-focus.