Engineers / Magnet - Manchester Academy 3 - 19.10.05

Wandering Norwegian rock, built from the solid base of the earnest; Even Johansen heartbased vocals that take a trip through Lennon country passed the border of Ollie Knights to the final destination of Bruce Springsteen. Crisp and crafted instrumentals from a talented and hardworking backing group made Magnet a masterful centrepiece. The stirring ‘Peacemaker’ from latest offering ‘Tourniquet’, set a soaring yet sombre and thoughtful tone, as Johansen was focused and forceful during songs, yet personable and fun spirited between them. The bolting ‘Believe’ sent positivity charging around the venue, as Magent connected with the crowd and instilled self belief into them with this power ballad.

Previous set closer and self-titled debut album final track ‘One in Seven’, featuring a haunting and troublled beginning that built up to a stirring rock jam, was made into an opener tonight. This introduced the baggy renaissance promoting sound of the part Manchester and other half London group; Engineers. The deeply personal debut album was mingled in neatly with more universal and brit pop skirting new numbers. The humble and unassuming singer and guitarist Simon Phipps with help from deft accompaniments, including the drilling percussion of Sweeny,  pulled off a gripping and feeling packed version of ‘Come In Out Of The Rain’. This took those gathered in these close knit surroundings along on the journey to the redemption of a moral-less person.

Another cathartic jam fuelled offering; ‘A Given Right’ meant that the main set ended in a similar way to its commencement. This obviously took a great deal out of the band, as a coy Simon Phipps returned alone for the encore clutching his guitar for comfort. He lost himself and the crowd in an endearing and intimate rendition of the pleading ‘Forgiveness’. This number pushed home the personal nature of the self-titled album. While the new songs will draw more people into the intriguing web of the Engineers, it is to be hoped that the debut album is not overlooked; being a vital construction in the career of the bunch of candid musicians.

David Adair

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