By all accounts, this “British art-pop quartet” have come out of nowhere. Hot off a tour with Kaiser Chiefs, they recently sold-out their first headline gig at London’s iconic Borderline. And if this write-up in the Indy is anything to go by, we’re in for a helluva treat…
Everyone in the London music industry who isn’t at the Brit Awards is at the Borderline, or so it seems: the moment you reach the foot of the stairs you have to fight through a sea of satchels.
The source of the buzz is a west London band called Night Engine (****). Fronted by an elegant sir in a Terylene shirt, with slicked-back strawberry blond hair and named only as Phil, and with a show-stealing Eno-esque synth-nerd called Dom, Night Engine have come from nowhere. With just a wedding band here and a Zappa covers band there in their rear-view mirrors, their emergence was so stealthy and so sudden that they missed all the January polls. The last time I remember a band arriving as fully formed and confident as this was Franz Ferdinand, a decade ago.
They describe their sound only as “the music of the city”, and you can certainly imagine it as the theme music for speeding along on the trans-Europe express, gazing at great cities through the glass. For me, it’s Young Americans Bowie meets Gang of Four meets the Associates meets pre-shark-jump Simple Minds meets end-period LCD Soundsystem. And their ease with song dynamics – ascending verses, swooping middle eights, soaring choruses and fiendish hooks – is uncanny.
“What?” says Phil between songs, temporarily thrown. “Someone just said they love us?” Get used to it, mate.
So get your greasy little finger out of your disaffected earhole, and jam some Night Engine up there instead:
And while you’re at it, go get yourself a ticket right now – if we have any left that is.