Engineers - Always Returning (KSCOPE) 2

Engineers – Always Returning (KSCOPE)

Always Returning - artwork copy

Engineers by name, engineers by nature, ‘Always Returning’ being a superbly crafted slice of neo-shoe gaze. Surprisingly, even after ten years of making albums, they haven’t put a foot wrong. Instead they seem to be hell bent on carving the perfect slice of reverb, warmth and layering, where vocals aren’t there just to send a message, but are an integral part of the fabric overall. Basically shoegaze: is the lyrical equivalent of listening to death metal after being ten foot away from an artillery strike.

‘Bless the Painter’ opens the album, professing its love for treacle thick walls of sounds, whilst ‘Fight or Flight’ is the equivalent of a drive along the coast, with the warmth seeping through into golden dream pop. ‘A Million Voices’ feels like the Engineers have traded their usual sound for a dirty tirade with early 80s Krauts, chased by the beat of the drums through the streets of Berlin. ‘Smiling Back’ feels like the bookend ‘Flight or Flight’, with the bluesier feel conjuring up the return journey as the sunsets.

‘Innsbruck’ on the other hand just feels like a filler for a track which never materialized. Instrumentals aren’t a bad thing. Hell, post rock gods, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, proved what could be done with instrumentals, textures, and timbre, so ‘Innsbuck’ feels like a mid-album let down. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, the second instrumental, does a much better job at filling the spot in the later part of the album.

‘Always Returning’ is a much warmer record overall, the analogue production used in the albums making bringing to closer to being that late night album you can curl up to with a hot drink, whilst waiting for the sun to rise after a hard night’s partying


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