Night Engine Live – A Reflection


Night Engine review

(20/2/2013 The Borderline)

With only three tracks on their Soundcloud and no label deal, Night Engine have still managed to get press from The Guardian ( twice actually Alex Petridis really likes them; make of that what you will), NME, Gigwise, theFader, the Indy and er, Glamour and the Daily Star. Yeah, when youre the most hyped band in town, you cant always choose your bedfellows

But have no doubt this four-piece London outfit are as tight as it gets. Imagine a mix of Talking Heads, Bowie and a good bit of Dexys Midnight Runners; all embodied in Phil McDonnell their flame-haired, charismatic lead, Lee Jordan on thunderous drums, Ed Jenkins on rock-solid bass and Dom Brennan on keys, anchoring it all with a few distorted stabs of his Korg keyboard. Ill Make It Worth Your While showcases their punk-funky style as the opener of last weeks Borderline gig, the perfect song to show that while they might have only gotten together early last year, theyve clearly practiced long and hard to make sure that they function as a well-drilled unit. You dont acquire management so early on without being seriously good and you definitely dont get to go on tour supporting the Kaiser Chiefs while still unsigned unless youve got something about you you dont fill the Borderline mid-week as headliners, come to that.

Their new track, Bright Lights, seems very Dexys (Dom agreed they were an influence when we spoke briefly pre-gig), all barking vocals and 80s bass at first, but giving way to a more soulful lilt later on. But it was really all about their first single, Seventeen, a tale of a young criminal whos stuck in a bad situation very much of his own making (and soundtracked by some truly kinetic guitar work) and Treat Me Like A Baby, a riposte to anyone who have a problem with them wearing their musical references on their artfully turned-up sleeves. The latter ends their set in thunderous fashion; Lees drumming in particular showing the undercurrent of aggression thats behind everything Night Engine does. They call their sound brutal pop and you can see why its simple but devastatingly effective, just like the band themselves. Catch them before intimate gigs are a long lost memory and youre lying about seeing them early on anyway. 

Night Engines first single, Seventeen /Treat Me Like A Baby is out now. 

The 7″ has already sold out from their official store, but it is still available from Rough Trade and Piccadilly Records.

Photos by Sarah Barney