Always Returning comes with a 2-Disc 24 page booklet media book with the second disc being an instrumental version of the album.
Engineers, who currently comprise Liverpudlian multi-instrumentalist Mark Peters, celebrated German ambient artist/producer Ulrich Schnauss and London based drummer and composer Matthew Linley, have been creating mesmerising music with brilliantly shaded guitar textures and teasing lyrical ambiguities since 2004.
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Like Maps and to a degree The Notwist, Engineers produce a heavily processed, heavily effected and scrubbed to the max form of electronic dream pop which is certainly pleasant on the ear but you wish they’d stretch out and introduce some nasty sounds to their music. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy for fans of slightly Germanic-sounding precise pop.
Opener ‘Bless the Painter’ is as rugged as it gets with some skittery beats and a some really nice chiming guitars. The vocals start as they mean to go on, hushed and an integral part of the music rather than really grabbing the listener. ‘Fight or Flight’ is similar in execution with the bonus of a sweet chorus with some pleasing female vocals, it sounds not unlike something off Cocteau Twins ‘Milk and Kisses’ although where Guthries guitar was always wobbly and off kilter, there’s nothing here really to stem the tide of pleasantness.
I’m enjoying ‘It Rings So True’ which employs finger-picked guitars and ghostly vocals and the lack of embellishment works in its favour. Elsewhere ‘Drive Your Car’ melodically recalls the slower end of My Bloody Valentine but repositions it to an almost exclusively electronic bedrock. There’s the odd instrumental track - ‘Innsbruck’ is a nice chiming instrumental track with lots of multi-layered arpeggated guitars.
There’s much to enjoy from a production stand point on this album but that very thing can occasionally be its downfall as any rawness is sandpapered away. In food terms, its like having too much pudding. Its an enjoyable listen though and another bonus is that the CD comes with instrumental version of the album and its housed in delightful book-like packaging.
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