They do things differently in the South. Across the musical landscape that is changing and innovating, many bands are returning to their grassroots in order to unleash said music into the atmosphere. Bands like the pride of Shreveport, Louisiana, Engine are creating and sustaining music that you need to hear. “Red Moon Rises” is an album recorded, produced, and pressed solely by the band. This DIY attitude comes out in what genuinely surprised me as a creative and concise album that goes where it wants to without ever feeling rushed or inauthentic.
Engine plays in a genre which they describe as “Space Western”. Let that sink in for a moment. Being totally new to the whole Space Western scene, I had no idea what to expect. How awesome it felt to be catapulted into their sound where genres are lassoed and lost in a space of sound. The band plays in a territory which is uniquely their own, yet strangely familiar. If you are looking for bands to compare them to, Devendra Banhart and Portugal. The Man are some of their best contemporaries to gleam similarities. However, make no mistake, their sound is definitely their own brand of southern gospel infused rock which is both authentic and relevant. Engine starts off in psychedelic, progress to jazzy ska (best illustrated in “If Somebody Gives You a Hand”), and ends in 1950’s era rock and roll after crossing blues laden bridges along the way.
The best tunes on this album come in the heart of its ten tracks. “Shuffle” has a great blues beginning that sets the mood for the songs to come. “Patraeus” is an upbeat rock tune with country style leanings. This is one you definitely want to listen to. What I respect about this one is how the band puts the work in, then moves on. Many others would press on; adding guitar solos and fancy drum fills. Southern sensibilities at their finest. “Ten Steps” finds the band treading on Jack White territory with much success. If this doesn’t get your hips swaying a little, then you might not have a pulse. The album closer, “Starting Over” is in this same danceable stream of sound and probably one of my favorites. Bouncing up and down with a ‘50’s style guitar before working into a hopeful “I’m starting over” anthem, is a perfect end to a surprisingly short 35-minute album.
Engine might just be the best band you are not listening to. On this their fourth full-length release, the band appears to have hit their creative stride. Never rushed, always unique and innovating, “Red Moon Rises” is a strong southern piece of humble Space Western rock that can be best appreciated on a sunny day with a iced Arnold Palmer close by. Drink it in.