Engineers – Always Returning
Engineers’ fourth offering Always Returning is a rich, textured record comprised of sweeping, cinematic soundscapes and intricate and intelligent detail. It is mature, and yet it seems to exist outside of any particular time-frame or indeed genre. The Liverpudlian band, with a penchant for lush harmonies and breathy, dream vocals, underpin each grandiose track with tight and deftly structured drumbeats, creating a sustained momentum throughout.
Across the album, notably on the second track Fight or Flight, Engineers interweave colourful nods to 80s synth pop to create an interesting interplay between tones of subdued joy and light, nostalgia infused melancholy. At times the record recalls the filmic, dream-pop giants M83 or legends Mercury Rev, and then seamlessly and with wonderful ease Always Returning echoes the better moments of Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree with flourishes of folky acoustic guitar and serene, majestic crescendos.
In many ways Always Returning is 3am driving music, and then again it is suffused with sunshine and recalls barbeques on the beach with friends. The real genius of this offering is its versatility: it incorporates the musical prowess and soft melodic guitars of bands like The Cinematic Orchestra, and though intensely atmospheric, the sound is far from simply ambient. The layers in the album are quite simply gorgeous. This is song writing that rewards the careful and attentive listener with an ambitious palette for intelligent music.
Drive Your Car is definitely a standout track – each instrument is carefully and sensitively brought to the foreground in turn, rendering it a sheer joy to hear. The record’s analogue quality is warm and contributes to the sense that this music transcends time. Momentum, which is admittedly difficult to achieve or more importantly sustain in an album, is fantastically executed with pounding drums and infectious baselines.
Always Returning is an immersive and ultimately uplifting listening experience that draws you away from the everyday into masterfully produced soundscapes full of variety and incredible repeat value. Never aggressively demanding attention, Always Returning gently invites you to take 40 or so minutes out of your day to investigate their multifaceted and singular sound. An accomplished exercise in experienced song writing that remains fresh and fun throughout.
Always Returning was released on 11th August 2014 and is available to order here.
Listen to a preview of Always Returning here: