Engineers / The Moogs - 53 Degrees Preston - 13.5.05

For any band playing the smaller of the two venues which compromise 53 Degrees, they're unwittingly in competition with the comedy show which falls fortnightly on Fridays next door at the larger venue. Looking around the half empty hall it would suggest the appetite for laughter is stronger than music.

First band The Moogs aren't on till late and when they finally arrive the crowd are mashed up on an assortment of alcoholic beverages doing some elaborate dancing at the front which is at times more watchable than the band. These scallydelic whippersnappers are pleasing in a retro Beatlesque / La's hybrid with the odd attempt at Zutons type swamp blues and country homage's. A little more personality and va va voom would be required to captivate my attention completely.

Engineers are not an Industrial band (ha ha), but musically are a finely tuned vessel of wonder. They've been together for just over 2 years and are signed to Echo, the home of Feeder but don't sound anything like the sensitive Welsh rockers. All the members of Engineers look like sensitive, caring, law abiding pillars of the community with the exception of the drummer, Sweeney, whose bulkiness, bald head and T-Shirt with the word "Superf**ker" mark him out as a rebellious outsider. They're a moody, atmospheric and ambient band with the prog rock attitude of Spiritualised and the extended jamming of say early Echoboy.

Fronted by the meekest man in music, Simon Philips, who has his vocals extremely low in the mix. It's a tad frustrating as Engineers have a vast, epic sound with a psychedelic trippy edge so it's a shame his voice is drowned out by the other musicians. Their last single "Forgiveness" is like no other around at the moment, just the sound of a band free to express themselves wonderfully. "Coming Out Of The Rain" and "Said And Done" are in the same league, with guitarist and mood wizard Dan Mcbean laying on the grooves and beats in a hypnotic and mellow kind of way.

There's no encore, but aren't encores so passé. Any return to the stage so soon after a great set like that would ruin the atmosphere and mood Engineers have made their own.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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