Malört Time, a series of (in)frequent videos charting the lives and times of Chicago indie-pop, lo-fi, melody makers Engine Summer is all the evidence one requires to support the hypothesis that here we are dealing with a band who are not, as one critic hailed the series, “peculiar” but are, instead and in fact, eccentrics, creatives and situationist pranksters…three wonderful things for any human being to be and three marvellous things for any band to be. The world is full of crashing, crushing, bores and the music industry is drowning in them so when a group arrives with even a hint, a whiff, a dash of personality we should embrace them.
Like L.A’s Automatic, the band are not content with traditional notions of what being in a band should involve. It isn’t enough to write infectious, bordering on the contagious, swoon inducing pop ‘n’ roll songs, they make their own flyers and posters and have a visual aesthetic that is designed to compliment the aural vision of the music. With at least one foot in the world of film their videos are exercises in world building; buying into Engine Summer gains you access to a set, a suite, a smorgasbord of visual, aural and creative ideas.
They start 2020 with a seven song E.P “Back-Street Boys” which includes the already released singles “Carol’s Dead” and “Night School”. Each one is proof of how seriously they take their rules they ride by; only make music that excites them and every song different from the last. Things here are indier than thou, Krautrock-y and dance-y in the same way that Franz Ferdinand were…these are songs to soundtrack a night out at the too cool for school club that, so far, only exists inside your head.