I remember watching a band many years ago and the person I was with saying to me, ” I don’t really like this band, they don’t know what they want to be.” My response was, “It’s when they work that out that I’ll probably stop liking them.” And to this day, I would rather listen to or watch a band that is unpredictable and sonically adventurous rather than one knocking out different versions of the same vibe.
I only mention this because Space Engineer sounds like a band still in love with trying to work out who they are. And Memory Trip feels like the workings out in the sonic margins of their creative process. They play with lush, dreamscapes on the opening track, How Everything Works, Bowie-esque acoustic-pop with If I Knew What I Mean, 60’s infused folk balladry with Circus World, and touches of 80’s underground indie (The Lilac Time anyone? Okay, just me then.) But, somehw, it also all sounds like the same band.
It’s a gorgeously, hazy slice of soundscaping, but it is so much more besides and the charm of the album comes from their exploratory approach to their music, their ability to not stick to their vision of what they might think that they are all about. And if they ever stop doing that, they will lose the inherent innocence and gentle but adventurousness spirit which makes them sound so endearing.