Engine7: Another Thunderous Silence
Herb Recordings

Originally a one-man outfit by Glasgow-based Alan McNeill, Engine7 transformed into a six-piece unit upon the release of the 2008 album Me, But Perfect. The group follows up its ambitious, wide-screen electronica with more of the same in a twenty-one-minute EP that alternates two originals with Engine7 mixes of two album tracks.

Ushered in with an entrancing piano melody, “Nuesta Senora” swells into a stately, orchestral-ambient setting in a mere five-minute running time. Strings, phase-treated guitars, piano, and glockenspiels merge into a slow-moving mass of ponderous character, while softly pulsating bass lines lend heft to the whirring electronic streams and melodic fragments that flow through the second original, “Bell Deconstruction.” The EP's jewel is “Me, But Perfect (Glossolalia mix)” which intensifies the original version with open-hearted emotion and drama by layering vocals, so yearning they verge on ecstatic, over a thick stirring mass of electronics, piano, and glockenspiels. With the original's beats entirely removed, the update firmly locates the Engine7 sound within Sigur Rós territory. Finally, the iridescence of “Sunrise, Catalonia (Costa Brava mix)” is as blinding as light reflecting off the ocean on a summer's day; something close to ecstasy is achieved in this also-beatless and sun-dappled drone treatment. Calling Another Thunderous Silence a stop-gap of sorts wouldn't be inaccurate but it offers a goodly share of satisfying moments nevertheless.

August 2009