Dear Engineer (EP) from Austin’s own Chords of Eve
“Brightside,” the first song that we encounter in the new extended play Dear Engineer from Austin’s own Chords of Eve, rises from the silence ready to take a hearty swing at anyone and anything that comes between the band and the audience they’re looking to captivate with their mystical melodies. Dear Engineer is no more than two minutes into its running time, and already it controls the every motion of its listeners through little more than a velvety groove and a feminine vocal that interweaves itself with the adjacent harmony as though the two were always meant to be together in some divine sonic union. The title track follows and continues to press the electronic surrealism of its predecessor forward with a light rhythmic beat that could make even the hardest hearts of stone melt on the spot, and though it feels a bit more complex compositionally than “Brightside” does, the textures of the two complement each other far more than they contrast. Chords of Eve are riding a wave of psychedelia-inspired electro-rock into the horizon in their debut EP, and for those of us who have been looking for something fresh out of the indie underground this spring, it couldn’t be arriving at a more pivotal moment this April.
A juggernaut of white noise finds itself boxed into an urban pop song in the form of “Evelyn” that could lull babies to sleep as easily as it could transport older listeners into a foreign universe of droning harmonies, each seemingly saturated with more grandeur than the one that came before it, but while I loved the existential glow of this track, I found myself much more intrigued by the firestorm of grooves that rains down on us in “Rebuild Ourselves Tonight” even after repeated listening sessions with Dear Engineer. “Rebuild Ourselves Tonight” sounds and feels like something Josh Homme might have penned before turning the QOTSA brand into just that – a brand – and under the direction of Chords of Eve, it delivers the thunderbolt of tonality that it was born to dish out flawlessly. I’ve never been much for gambling, but if I had to make a wager on whether or not this band put some considerable time and effort into making Dear Engineer sting both musically and lyrically, I’d put some serious money on their having devoted all of themselves to this project long before it ever left the recording studio.
Chords of Eve’s debut comes to a rip-roar conclusion on the back of “The Future’s Not What It Used To Be,” which both encapsulates the essence of the other songs on the extended play and offers us a glimpse into the clubby beats this group could possibly submit in future efforts. Dear Engineer isn’t nearly as artificial in substance nor style as its title might imply to some consumers this April, but rather an authentic take on the future of rock n’ roll that you won’t find replicated anywhere else in the underground nor the mainstream anytime soon, and in my book, it’s an out of the park homerun for the players who conceived it.