Engineers, eh? Useful buggers. Chemical, civil, and the London alt-rock three-piece that seem to be in their ‘Elbow-before-they-went-massive’ phase. Amongst the recent works of Tame Impala, The Horrors, Jagwar Ma and the other 63,000 acts (we counted) to bring a psych-pop LP our way, we’re still pleasantly surprised – well, relatively – by another addition in the form of Always Returning.
It all starts pretty well. 60s rock riffs serenade over opening track Bless The Painter, welcoming Sophie McDonnell to provide some melancholy guest vocals in The xx kinda way. And while we applaud Mark Peters and co for wanting to make formula-free music (not that we were expecting Calvin Harris to mix a radio edit), what follows is largely forgettable until album saviour and certified toe-tapper Searched For Answers appears.
Elsewhere, Smiling Back is a Radiohead-esque intermission during the album, and later proves to be the calm before Ulrich Schanuss‘ synth-storm (try saying that after a few German beers). But it doesn’t really register beyond the first pleasant listen. We worry, then, that the only reason Engineers are Always Returning is because they’re not quite sticking with us in the first place.