Self Released (label)
06 January 2020 (released)
06 January 2020
Fear not, pop-pickers nor rock-chickers, this ain’t no hagiographical biographical run-through takedown of the umpteenth selling prefabricated boyband, the pre-pubescent pin-ups Backstreet Boys.
Oh no, this seven-track suite, ‘Back-Street Boys’ is a musical exhortation of the five (disparately connected) degrees of separation to/from the inestimable Mark E. Smith and his umpteen iterations of The Fall.
From this arable well Chicagoan trio Engine Summer further divine inspiration from in no particular order: Pavement (‘Likes), Sonic Youth (‘Night School’),Parquet Courts (‘Carol’s Dead’ and ‘Suds’) and Teutonic motorik-mavens Can and Neu! (‘Spice Boys’). Engine Summer wear their (he)art on their sleeve and wear it well they do.
‘Groovin’ on 63rd’ is Phase One Fall (‘Dragnet’ – ‘Hex Induction Hour’) in its jagged, scratchy raw sonics. ‘Spice Boys’ has a snaking, charming and disarming bassline akin to a hypnotist’s watch dragging the optic attention towards an (un)conscious state of being, the mind following in inert pursuit.
The group vocals always address ‘you’ the recipient in the manner of a benign, bored dictator, the words drawn and drawled out, laconic and sardonic, equally affecting and disaffecting.
This is exquisite lo-fi aim-for-the-sky DIY (the band control all message input/output that includes a lo-fi video series called ‘Malört Time’, chronicling their DIY tours, trials and tribulations, hailed by critics as “peculiar”); all short, sharp, spartan shocks to the aural system (one song crosses the 3 minute mark), punchy, precise and pristine and over before you know it.