In Rotation: Sincere Engineer - RhombithianPhil Collins - November 7, 2017
The debut album from Chicago punks Sincere Engineer hit with a bang, coming out on the local punk mainstay Red Scare Industries, home of bands from the Falcon to the Brokedowns to Direct Hit! to Masked Intruder to Teenage Bottlerocket to the Menzingers and more. These are household names in punk and if Rhombithian is any indication, Sincere Engineer is going to be right there too. The catchy songs, gruff vocals and wry sense of humor are a good match for the pop punk label. The line early in the album about jumping into Lake Michigan and swimming in it certainly doesn't hurt on the Chicago connection front. What really makes this record exceptional, and fast, is adept lyricism.
Exhibit A: "Overbite," the third track on the album, deftly trades two lines that balance the album's main themes - anxiety on the one hand and a self-deprecating sense of humor invoking the minutiae of everyday life on the other. "I don't care about anything as much as I used to" is repeated a few times within the first minute of the song. Then, after another round in the second chorus, the line changes to "I still feel just about as dumb as I used to." The music speeds up in the last 30 seconds and the two lines trade off at the end of the track.
Exhibit B: "What am I supposed to do now?/...and have another corn dog and fall asleep on the couch" from the opening track, "Corn Dog Sonnet No. 7." That title alone should tell you a few things about where this record is going. Again we have these juxtaposed lines, a very convincing "What am I supposed to do now?" followed later on by a conclusion we have surely all chosen at one time or another - eating junk food and falling asleep early instead of going out.
Sincere Engineer's record release show is this Friday at Township with the Brokedowns, the Usuals and Two Houses. More information on that show here. Watch videos for "Ceramic Tile" here, "Shattering" here and a mustard-covered lyric video for "Corn Dog Sonnet No. 7" here. Stream three tracks from the album below/through Sincere Engineer's Bandcamp page. You can stream the whole record on Spotify, and pick up that vinyl!