Out now via Air Scotia Record
By Charlie Forrest
This garage rock trio from Elmshurst, Illinois, produce harmlessly playful songs with thumping bass and drums. Influences range from Spoon, Modest Mouse and Chicago based alt-rock group, Twin Peaks. Their grunginess reveals itself as a fairly nondescript recreation of a lot of post-punk music; overdriven guitar and staccato singing, emulating the rolling sounds of Thee oh Sees and Parquet Courts. In ‘Carol’s Dead’ and ‘Suds’, Marsan’s vocals lack subtle and emotional resonance, but there’s an easy groove to their tight knit, indie-band sound. ‘Groovin’ on 63rd’ is the most notable track on the album, displaying a bit more funk punk originality and raw expression, whilst ‘Night School’ eases along with hazy guitar, summoning up high-school nostalgia. The songs are short but well-conceived, proving Engine Summer to be a respectable, if low-key, American rock group.
A lack of weirdness and experimental sound means they fall short of a lot of today’s more exciting indie innovators. They don’t seem to mind this though. In fact, their sound exudes a lack of seriousness; there’s a hearty and admirable aura about them that rejects pretentious song-writing or musicality. It’s an image that endears them to a playful, easy kind of rock that is both digestible and inoffensive. These guys are suburbanites of outer-Chicago, harkening back to their teen years of neighbourhood garage sessions and sipping mom’s cool aid after practice. It’s communal and fun, which may not sound as stimulating as, say, Thom Yorke switching between 5/4 and 13/9 time signatures over a mixolydian chord progression, but if you’re after some straight down the line rock music played by some rock ‘n’ lovers then their new album is definitely worth a listen