ENGINE – Cucumber Water (EP Premiere)

Leeds psych outfit ENGINE share a first listen of their new record, and talk us through it track-by-track

Feature by The Skinny | 29 Nov 2017

Mixing unashamedly baggy grooves with elements from modern psych and a host of electronic styles, ENGINE make for an intriguing listen. The Leeds quartet follow a host of singles and live shows alongside Connan Mockasin and C Duncan with their debut record Cucumber Water. Influence for its songs and lyrics come from everyone from Roy Orbison to W.H. Auden., and its genre-hopping style brings to mind the likes of Darkside and Floating Points. Cucumber Water is out this Friday, but we're pleased to offer you an early chance to give its four tracks a listen in the SoundCloud player below. And to help you navigate your way through their sound, ENGINE have provided a guide to each of Cucumber Water's four tracks – read on to find out more... 

Cucumber Water
"The title track is a winding odyssey initially based on an ambiguous flute recording. The whole track was built up of samples from a long lost Brazilian post-bossanova album. It soon morphs into a dark and freakish hip-hop monster. The music jumps around, the aim of contrasting sections being to make the listener feel unsure. We jettisoned a natural conclusion to the track in favour of an indulgent DX7-filled breakdown and climax.

"We aim to exist in paradox; a soothing and melancholic outro jarring heavily against the otherwise abrasive feel of the song. The melody shamelessly steals from Roy Orbison's Crying. It concerns regret in a past relationship and a search for redemption."

Funeral Blues
"Funeral Blues was initially inspired by a typically bombastic ENGINE drum sample and some indistinguishable drenched-in-delay noises. The lyrics are influenced by a poem of the same name, suggesting the writer would give up everything for one person, that everything else is meaningless in comparison. The middle section is evocative of Detroit techno so loved by the band. Also admired is Giorgio Moroder and his influence weighs heavy on the track."

Al's Chords
"Al's Chords began as a simple chord structure played by our former bass player Alec. This mutated into a fully-fledged composition when paired with the drum machine from an old electric organ sitting neglected in a corner of our studio. The production was influenced by Andrew Weatherall & Terry Farley's remixes of Primal Scream's Come Together.

"The lyrics were inspired by the title of a W.H Auden poem, Tell Me the Truth About Love. They concern letting your true affection be shown, not being afraid to hide it, being comfortable with letting your love flourish in all situations. The song is unique on our forthcoming EP in that the initial idea for the composition came not from a sample but an original chord sequence."

Not Surprised
"Closing song Not Surprised is a dreamy garage-house affair, built around a dusty Charles Mingus piano loop. We allowed it to glide along, propelled by a deep double-bass sample and a clumsy drum fill. A hazy breakdown anticipates a not unwelcome sax solo, crying out longingly for what we are not sure. Increasingly unfamiliar instrumentation builds into one final ‘drop’ – one of the few moments that would not be out of place in a dark dingy night club.

"As the track rolls out, more vocal harmonies layer to form a choir which then is left acappela for the final phrase. The song centres around betrayal by a loved one. The antagonist has lied again, but will they be forgiven?"

Cucumber Water is out on 1 Dec; ENGINE play launch shows at The Nines in Peckham on 30 Nov, and Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds on 7 Dec