I was a little surprised to read that Engineers were perceived as a shoegaze act. Sure, there are elements of shoegaze/dreampop in their first album and EP but for me they were more like an ambient rock act. Typically though, ‘Three Fact Fader’ has confounded my theory with an album which says “Sod it, we are a shoegaze act after all”. Thankfully, they prove themselves just as brilliant in their new “guise”.
‘International Dirge’ – despite the lack of promise in its title – is an elegiac moment of wonder based around a lovely flowing piano hook. Yet as much as ‘Sometimes I Realise’ and ‘Hang Your Head’ represents their pounding anthemic side there’s a song like ‘Brighter As We Fall’ which is as gentle, emotional and beautiful as this kind of music gets.
Later on in the album, the London-based trio get more experimental. It pays dividends too, with the heady spiralling psychedelia of the title track and the thrilling dynamics of ‘Emergency Room’. They also employ a string section for three songs and emerge with flying colours. Another point to note is that – unlike so many other dreampop acts – the vocals on ‘Three Fact Fader’ seem whispered but they can still be heard above the tremendous noise.
Despite my initial apprehensions that the band had retreated in to their shell, ‘Three Fact Fader’ eventually emerges as a triumphant record, swathed in gorgeous layers of melody. All of which proves that if Engineers are just a shoegaze band they are a great one.
Chapterhouse, Slowdive, The Great Depression, Doves