If new bands hope to make a splash when they launch, then you can consider this band poised like an 19-stone Tom Daley right now, as we build up to their official promotion later this week. We reached out to the band having discovered them on our good friends at the awesome Killing Moon music blog (credit where it’s due, right). The article they’d posted earned the band an appearance on the Music Robot, a specialist UK-only blog aggregator, which allows the public to vote for the track and give it a place in their chart. What followed was a surge in votes causing the song to race straight up to number one. That’s pretty significant considering only one blog had posted it, absolutely zero promotion had begun for the band and they were yet to even play their debut live show. How could we not get in touch!? This band had indirectly laid down a serious marker so our interest was very much piqued before we’d even pressed play on their music. Thankfully what eventually bounced out of our speakers was utterly sublime.
Welcome to Night Engine, a four piece from London, with Phil on vocals, Dom on keys, Ed on bass and Lee on drums. This is a band in the traditional sense of the word. In a contemporary landscape of music that has seen a flood of bedroom producers and Ableton starlets we now have a group with actual instruments, you know, guitars and everything! At first glance this laptop backdrop could make this new band seem a little dated, or harking back to a time when riffs and posturing where the fashion, therefore leaving this group ten years behind the current trends. In an Internet world where everything moves forwards at a million miles an hour, ten years may as well be one hundred. How will they stop people from considering them past their genre’s sell by date? How are they going to penetrate the current scene? How are they going to get the hipsters on board? How will the blogs take to music that is this off-trend? How will they generate any real buzz when today’s fizz is found inside computers? By being entirely awesome, that’s how.
What we all forget in this time of electronically-enhanced music is that there’s something romantic to be said about real bands. Lord knows The Recommender is also known to engage with all the laptop twiddling and bedroom composers as much as any other blog – some of these DIY artists are also astonishing after all – but we also know there’s something positive to be found in a guitar band, especially when they’re this powerful and dynamic. Consider the first tune that’s wafted into our ears from Night Engine, I’ll Make It Worth Your While. Instantly-likeable, this is a high-octane tune of significant proportions, fattened up with a riff that raises the hairs on the back of your neck in the same way Franz Ferdinand‘s Take Me Out once did. It’s aiming to fizz a tingle right up your spine, with Phil’s vocals styled magnificently and the kind of layered shouting that gives the song a sound that is a hybrid of Bowie‘s tracks, Fashion and Fame – two words that seem somewhat ironic, as it’s precisely what they could be denied if certain hipsters and taste-makers imprudently dismiss the band.
It is well-documented that guitars had a huge impact in music as we turned the millennium. Acts such as the The Strokes with their garage-band sound, or The White Stripes with their Blues-infused fuzz and giant guitaring were the trend du jour. If you think about it however not many acts were channelling the over-sized posturing of Bowie until Franz Ferdinand shook their hips into view. Night Engine seem all set for a similar path. Franz Ferdinand’s music was set to a backdrop of guitars already, so Night Engine’s contrast should allow even more impact when you consider today’s differing progression. It is precisely because they stand separate to the Ableton solo artists that their ripples could cause an even bigger wave than that of those Scottish art students a decade ago. It’s still early days – in fact this band can still be considered very much still in the womb – so talk of any impact or even any genuine interest is perhaps premature, but the music is all set to start walking from day one. Other tracks that we’ve heard, such as the gritty Treat Me Like A Baby, which continues the pace and power, still mainlining the Scary Monsters-era Bowie, or the even stronger, Seventeen, which marches like an entire army of Austrian Archdukes, with both tracks being equally wonderful and continuing the sense that this band have that magic ingredient; singles.
Their styled swagger, their powerful energy, their instant appeal, their ability to write hooks and riffs that could knock down mountains, but perhaps most importantly of all their commercial appeal, will have them storming onto the radio too. Their positive disposition, which will have them appearing on any radio show that’s played the likes of Theme Park or Zulu Winter – the latter of which used to have Night Engine’s bass player Ed found on trumpets. It all begs the question, which radio station didn’t play Theme Park or Zulu Winter? Exactly. The live shows should be another arena where they generate some interest, especially with guitars this energetic and choruses this huge. They would simply sound awesome on Reading Festival’s main stage. You can catch their first headline show at The Seabright Arms on 17th October, although there’s a sneaky peak at their set one week before at the Norwich Sound & Vision Festival, which is part of the John Peel Festival Of New Music event. We’ve been in touch with Joel, their manager (who managed The Joy Formidable until recently), and he’s confirmed that Thursday and Friday of this week should see the full PR campaign begin and the splash this band could create would even have David Hockney moving his easel back a few paces. We will be able to tell for sure just how much excitement they will cause once the said campaign and those initial gigs are underway, but it really shouldn’t matter which direction the river is flowing, you can still make a giant splash if your music is good enough. And this band are leaping in both feet first. (MB)
NIGHT ENGINE – I’LL MAKE IT WORTH YOUR WHILE
NIGHT ENGINE – TREAT ME LIKE A BABY