Superengine – Shadows Meet LP
Review by Leo Abbs
There’s a saying in music that you have your whole life to write your first album, and in this case, it’s very true. The origins of this album called ‘Shadows Meet’ go back some 12 years, when Jon Fernandes and Renee Bingham first started writing songs together in an outfit called Mr Tickle. The songs that make up this album range over the period from 2002 –2007 (when they became a sixpiece and changed their name to Superengine), but the songwriting history of the band spans much longer.
This album is massive. With an amazing amount of instrumentation – multiple vocal harmonies, keys, guitars, bass, trumpet, xylophones, and Trombone plus more…it involved a lot of time in the studio. it’s recorded by a guy in Leederville. This guy also recorded Massive Attack once. Yep. Wowsers! His name is Jeremy Allom.
The first single Intermittent Lies. Has a fair dosage of national airplay, with it’s shout out to their keyboard player, Alison, mid song being the most memorable hook, (along with many ‘be Yada’s’ and plenty of ‘hey! Hey!’s), The rotation it received on triple j was deserving so and it’s the strongest pop song here.
Elsewhere there are tonnes of influences. Stereolab pops up when you hear the band, but local Perth music fans will notice similarities to Cinema Prague, particularly when you feel hints of Meldatype. The vocal harmonies sound similar to Brian Wilson’s work on Pet Sounds.
Though as far as debut long players go, Superengine come across as one of those bands that seem to be stuck at the crossroads. Shadows Meet is an album full of catchy, horn filled pop songs and the other half full of more progressive art rock ‘epics’ that tend to drag a little. It appears the strengths lie in the shorter catchy songs, rather than the lengthy fart wank.
The verdict is. Get to the point, Engine. You could nail an album of perfect pop songs. This disc is a great start, but you can still do better.