Exposé Online banner

Engineers — Three Fact Fader
(Kscope 118, 2009, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2011-06-01

Three Fact Fader Cover art

Engineers were a band many pegged to go big, but the implosion of their label after the release of their 2004 debut threw them into limbo. The time off allowed them to slave over these 13 songs, and the results should please fans of Sigur Rós or Sonic Youth. There’s a prog connection via the band’s avowed admiration of classic Krautrock. They even go so far as to sample Harmonia’s “Watussi” on the excellent leadoff track “Clean Coloured Wire.” And both Steven Wilson and Richard Barbieri of Porcupine Tree have thrown their support behind the band, Wilson remixing the song “Sometimes I Realise.” I can understand the appeal: Engineers produce meticulously crafted and sonically mesmerizing shoegazer / celestial rock that’s alternately — or simultaneously — intense and dreamy. The songs typically feature chugging guitar, layers of analog synthesizers, and crisp drumming over which Simon Phipp offers a vulnerable yet undeniably melodic vocal (also comparable to Steven Wilson). The band uses distortion as an atmospheric enhancement, often employing it as harmonic reinforcement for the otherwise sparse arrangements. Other than the vocals, melodies are generally in short supply, though when they do appear — as on “Emergency Room” or “The Fear Has Gone” — they make an impact. Part of this comes from use of strings, which provides a stark textural counterpoint to the thick slabs of electronica suffusing the tracks. Whatever you may think of this kind of music, this is an album that burns slowly but once it gets going won’t be extinguished quickly. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Engineers

Latest news

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gargantua & Cashmere - Kotegarda & Cash Romantic Music Machine – These two surprising releases come to us by way of Poland, both prominently featuring violinist, vocalist and songwriter Tylda Ciołkosz, who is also a member of the more keyboard oriented group Van....  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues