Review Summary: Engine Three Seven expand their sound and improve out of sight.
After relocating from Byron Bay three years ago, Melbourne’s Engine Three Seven have gone from strength to strength in a bourgeoning rock scene. Dubbing themselves ‘heavy roots rock,’ the band play an eclectic style of alternative rock with funk and roots overtones. Their debut EP, released in 2008, showed a penchant for outstanding songwriting and musicianship throughout the band. Atmosphere
builds on the aforementioned, while also seeing the band move in a decidedly ‘harder’ direction.
Opener ‘Cops’ sees Engine Three Seven at their best straight off the bat. A decidedly fast paced track, vocalist Casey Dean shines, showing off the large range of his unique voice, albeit with some odd lyrics, in particular ‘Wait a minute, cattle prod
.’ The fast paced ‘Have It All’ completes the one-two punch, showing the band’s new, heavier direction, again featuring a stellar performance from Dean, particularly when he croons ‘Smile like a crocodile,’
coming across as a combination of Mike Patton and Ian Kenny in places. Despite the band’s growth in sound, their major influences are still apparent, with some moments bringing Karnivool to mind and others harking back to System of a Down, featuring an array of roots based sounds.
The main change in sound for the band between the two EP’s is the use of acoustic guitar. On their debut, Jones utilized the acoustic guitar to great effect on almost every song. However, in keeping with the bands new, somewhat rockier direction, the acoustic guitar is barely sighted on Atmosphere
, barring the title track. The roots influences are still obviously there, however, just not as obviously placed. This void has been filled by bassist Aryn Appleberry (also leading the competition for name of 2010), with his funk influenced bass lines’ giving the songs a whole new dimension, and something that was possibly missing on their debut. Tracks like first single ‘Have It All’ and the outstanding ‘Hysterical Hysteria,’ both of which are quite bass driven songs, stand out because they have that extra sound, not to mention some very catchy hooks.
With the focus taken off Dean’s acoustic guitar, Guitarist Jedi Wright (another name of the year contender) is also given the space in songs to branch out. This is particularly obvious on songs such as ‘Cops’ and ‘Adults Only,’ the more guitar based songs on the record, give Wright an opportunity to show his ware. Arguably, the only downside of the record is that some of the songs do begin to sound a little samey, despite it only being an EP. This is true in particular for the title track, giving off the vibe that we’ve heard it all before. However, more often than not, the amount of energy found in the music overcomes this. These are only very minor gripes, with overwhelming majority of Atmosphere boasting the best music the band has written.
The release of Atmosphere
sees Engine Three Seven build on the potential shown on their debut EP, with the band’s excellent songwriting giving rise to a great set of accessible alternative rock songs. The only worry is when they do sit down to write the full length is that they’ll have enough variation such that the album doesn’t drag. With their latest release, Engine Three Seven have managed to move out of the rut alternative rock is currently in and do something a little different, hopefully someone takes notice.
Reccomended Tracks: ‘Hysterical Hysteria,’ ‘Cops’ and ‘Have It All’