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Engineers - Three Fact Fader

Engineeers, Three Fact Fader

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

IT’S been a tumultuous four years since the release of Engineers’ acclaimed debut album but the wait has been worth it. Sophomore effort Three Fact Fader is an impressive, mighty comeback that may even benefit from the passage of time.

Last time out, Engineers were dubbed a part of the “shoe gaze” movement that was largely derided. Now that it’s accepted and even welcomed, there’s no better time to unleash this sprawling, ambitiously conceived effort.

What’s more, they arrive as authors of their own destiny having departed from their former record company and going on their own, buoyed by the encouragement of fans who were desperate to hear the second album.

Hence, Three Fact Fader arrives as a real gift; a reward for fans’ patience and a reminder – or underlining – of their talent.

Singer Simon Phipps, guitarist Dan Macbean, bassist Mark Peters and drummer Sweeney have really outdone themselves from first moment to last, combining laidback shoegaze soundscapes with pounding, indie-inspired rhythmic gems.

Album opener Clean Coloured Wire is a classic case in point: an immediate attention grabber and a damn fine entry point. Combining woozy, My Bloody Valentine style melodies with elements of krautrock and a sample from Harmonia’s Watussi, it’s a masterpiece. Phipps’ vocals are pure shoegaze (laidback, trippy), while the woozy organs and intricate layering of instruments transports you on an epic journey of discovery. You’ll be smitten.

Of the 13 tracks that ensue, there are plenty of highs and changes in tempo. Sometimes I Realise, the second track, slows down the tempo and layers on the bass, creating the sort of instrumental accompaniment that could grace a Mogwai album or a Michael Mann soundtrack. It’s slow-build but rousing once the guitars are unleashed.

International Dirge has a Jesus & Mary Chain psychadelic vibe, Helped By Science? once again slow-builds to a thing of beauty, while Hang Your Head has a pounding, dancefloor quality that’s reminiscent of both Doves and Stone Roses in their prime.

Three Fact Fader is another psychadelic gem, Song For Andy washes over you with its waves of sound in supremely gratifying fashion, and The Fear Has Gone trips things out with its ambient drones, neo-classical strings and fragile vocals. By the time it reaches its conclusion and fades into the early acoustic strumming of Be What You Are, you may be thinking of Pink Floyd comparisons.

But then Engineers barely put a foot wrong throughout this album. It’s a mighty return from them that deserves to find an even wider fanbase.

Download picks: Three Fact Fader, Clean Coloured Wire, Hang Your Head, Sometimes I Realise, The Fear Has Goine, Helped By Science?, What Pushed Us Together

Track listing:

  1. Clean Coloured Wire
  2. Sometimes I Realise
  3. International Dirge
  4. Helped By Science
  5. Brighter As We Fall
  6. Hang Your Head
  7. Crawl From The Wreckage
  8. Three Fact Fader
  9. Song For Andy
  10. Emergency Room
  11. Fear Has Gone, The
  12. Be What You Are
  13. What Pushed Us Together