Ah, that band name. Take one part England, mix with one part America, and you get… Engerica. Quite what was wrong with Amerigland I can’t possibly imagine, but obviously I wasn’t at the meeting. I digress…
I first caught Engerica about a year ago at Truck Festival, where they won over a pleasantly drunk crowd with a show of considerable energy, despite some occasionally lacklustre tunes. Still, a year is a long time, and it gives me no small pleasure to say that Engerica have found some killer tunes.
These tunes just so happen to straddle the gap between punk (for punk read Sum 41, NOFX, The Offspring) and metal. The assistance of one time Manics producer Dave Eringa has helped them polish off any sharp edges. As a result, many of these tunes have a distinct pop side to them, which is no bad thing. Hardcore punk fans may well turn their noses up, but that’s their loss, because There Are No Happy Endings is such an affable record, it’s practically impossible to dislike (even if you’re trying very hard).
Part of its appeal is that Engerica are a band that have their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. For a start, the album sleeve is a parody of Keane‘s Hopes And Fears, only with added gallows. Anyone who has a pop at Keane is alright in my book.
Then there are the lyrics, which at times aren’t even primary school level, and which most nursery kids would consider a little trite (when they aren’t learning about rainbow coloured sheep, obviously). Still, there’s something strangely charming about a band that feels comfortable using lyrics like: “Liar, cheater, bogey eater. Look out everyone – here comes Peter.” Their commitment to awful rhyming is nothing short of heroic at times, but somehow it just works. Perhaps the key lies in the fact that Engerica write such catchy songs that you can forgive them almost anything.
For all the polishing supplied by Eringa, these songs still have the ability to kick like mules. My Demise shows Engerica as a fantastic metal band with plenty of seething guitars, while Misery Guts (chock full of dynamics Alice in Chains would have been proud of) shows a slightly more gentle side to their song writing. It’s the bull headed charge of their more punk influenced songs that really grab the ear, though. Somehow subject matter such as suicide (and there’s a fair bit of suicide in these songs) and teen sex become riotous sing-alongs.
There’s the warped humour of Trick Or Treat and the insanely catchy blast of recent single The Smell from which you can only conclude that this is a band that aren’t trying to hard to be cool: writing great songs seems to be enough. For all the schoolyard humour it’s impossible to avoid that these are great songs. As bad as calling a song The Smell is (and that is pretty bad), and as bad as missing out on calling your band Amerigland is (unforgivable), Engerica have come up with a fantastic record in There Are No Happy Endings.