Engineers’ first three LPs were trotted out one year after another. Always Returning, however, took three years, so it’s perhaps fitting that its appeal is a slow-burning one, revealing hidden depths and melodic prowess with every listen.
Much of what you hear is spacey – think the ‘ahhhhh’ instrumentals of 10cc’s I’m Not In Love – but within this soothing canvas lie sharper progressive tools, notably in the jerkier art-rock notes of Innsbruck. Mainman Mark Peters is in thrall of lovely chords and beatific swathes, using ’70s processors and live drums to create an effect that marries old school electronica, proggy progressions and an ambient vibe – not to mention minimal, but evocative, organic instrumental lines. Accordingly, the bounce of A Million Voices carries a certain Midge Ure-evoking eclecticism. Things take a more upbeat turn in the likes of Searching For Answers, while classic rock guitar lines weave into the ethereal shoegaze of Smiling Back. The blissful base may threaten to lose its impact in driftier moments, but Always Returning knows when to hook you back in with a stirring shade or shift. A truly immersive record. Polly Glass