It takes guts to make a debut album as ambitious and expansive as Reader’s Engrams. The four-piece from Seattle, WA have crafted eight songs for their first full-length that defy convention and refuse to be pigeonholed or catergorized. Of course, there are influences throughout these eight songs, including ominous bass rumblings that reflect the most famous musical export of their hometown, psychedelic vocal harmonies that could from a parallel universe of the ’60s, and wonderfully bizarre time signatures that would please any math-rock aficionado.
When combined, however, those influences make for a series of songs that twist and turn when you least expect it and keep you guessing not just from the start of the album to the end, but from the beginning of each song to its conclusion. A collision of heavy, intense and urgent feeling, masterful musicianship, and lyrics and vocals that have an otherworldly (yet vulnerable) edge to them, Engrams is a triumphant success of a debut record.
Given their obvious talent as musicians, the four-piece -- who have, right now, a mysterious and minimal online presence -- could have easily played it safe and crafted songs that stayed within their comfort zone. As it turns out, they did the opposite. The title track, for instance, is an epic, experimental and mostly instrumental exploration that’s wild and free, but -- despite coming off like a spontaneous, improvised free-jam -- which you know is actually under full control by the band at all times.