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

2018-07-31
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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Poor Richard - Knees, Reins & Feet – As the debate over the meaning of the word "progressive" (as it applies to rock music) continues, the loosest interpretations generally define it as anything that eschews the mainstream...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues