Hailing from North Shore, Boston, the retro-wave, power-pop, and melody-driven rock project Cold Engines return to captivate our ears with their latest 10-track album, 'Flower Covered Hills.'
Comprised of David Drouin, Aaron Zaroulis, Geoff Pilkington, and Eric Reingold, Cold Engines first caught our attention with their anthemic hooks similar to acts like The Police, Queen, The Killers, and The Beatles. More recently, Cold Engines won Rock Band Of The Year at the New England Music Awards; they've also dropped their latest passionate 10-track album, 'Flower Covered Hills.'
Hitting play on the new album, we're met with the introductory and title track, "Flower Covered Hills," which opens the album with a bright country twang through smooth acoustic guitar melodies, warm piano arrangements, and soft drum breaks. As Drouin makes his tender and airy vocal appearance, he begins to tell the tale of living in a daydream along the flower-covered hills, and the beauty abound. We love the easy-listening feel of this intro track; it perfectly sets up the record in this refreshing and chilling way.
Moving onto track number two, "All Work," the song begins with a bright and passionate instrumental arrangement alongside Drouin's soothing vocal stylings. We adore the addition of the haunting background strings in this piece, especially as Cold Engines deliver their entire and cohesive instrumental landscape that pitches camp in the heart. While Drouin continues to sing of letting someone go and wondering what the future has to offer, we make our way to the dreamy outro that's nothing short of a cinematic sonic masterpiece.
Jumping into the next track, "Paying My Respects," we're greeted with an incredibly upbeat and lively instrumental breakdown through jumping piano melodies, bouncy drum breaks, and a thrilling acoustic guitar. As Drouin's raspy and warm vocals melt through our speakers, he takes us by the hand and passionately leads us into the song's heartfelt concept while paying his respects to the ones we've lost throughout our journeys. This song carries all the joy and optimism we could ask for, and it perfectly balances out the entire well-rounded record thus far.
Reaching track number four, "A Lot To Ask," the song drearily opens with a haunting and melancholy acoustic guitar alongside a groaning cello and twinkling piano melodies that set the moody tone. We always adore Drouin's vocal appearance; he has a way of changing up the song's entire vibe with his natural charisma and brilliant performances. While passionately singing of life's quick pace and finding peace in someone's arms, he drenches us in nothing but raw emotion while allowing just about anyone to relate with each heartfelt word.
Landing on the album's halfway point with track number five, "Let Me Fall For You," the song opens with Cold Engines' chilling and cathartic instrumentals that shimmer and gleam with nothing but heart and soul. Listening to Drouin's calming vocal appearance, he sings a romantic and heartfelt ballad of loving someone's every way. We appreciate how Cold Engines has the ability to switch up the atmosphere and experience of each track on this record, especially with this passionate halfway tune; they make the entire listening experience worthwhile.
Moving onto track number six, "Broken Town," Cold Engines brings us into a dreamy sonic landscape right off the bat with a plucky acoustic guitar and haunting keyboard melodies. As Drouin begins to take the song by storm and serenades us with his fluttery and soulful vocals, he reminds us of his mistakes in the past while blaming his broken heart on the broken town, whose population is himself. This song has a deeply haunting and chilling feel, mostly from the minor keys, but also because Cold Engines has mastered the art of emotional instrumentals.
Jumping into the next track, "I Don't Know How," the song peacefully opens with a tender acoustic guitar melody and Drouin's emotional vocals that travel through the reminiscent past and the memories he holds with a loved one. The lyricism within this song is top tier, and Cold Engines perfectly backs up the song's concept with their sweet, soft, and poignant instrumental arrangements. This track might just be our favorite off the record; there's something about Drouin's honesty paired with Cold Engines' soothing instrumentals that feed our souls.
Reaching track number eight, "Go It Alone," the song opens with another emotional and heartfelt country instrumental that melts through our speakers with the utmost softness and passion. Listening to Drouin's heartfelt words, he keeps our hearts pumping with his relatable lyrics about guilt and the need to apologize to someone he once hurt. This special someone has genuinely left their mark on the songwriter because these lyrics are not for the faint of heart; Drouin continues to passionately sing about loving this person until the end of time.
Onto the final two tracks of the record with "Night Driving," the song kicks off with a spirited and emotional instrumental through a plucky acoustic guitar and cinematic piano melodies alongside a soft drum arrangement and Drouin's soothing vocal stylings. He continues to passionately sing about driving through the night and waiting for someone to hit his line, all while he depicts the passion he holds for this special someone and their otherworldly beauty. We lied; this is our favorite track off the record, especially as Cold Engines' cathartic instrumentals back up Drouin's relatable message.
Reaching the final and outro track, "Trains," the song quickly kicks off with Drouin's tender vocals alongside Cold Engines' hearty and soulful instrumentals that ooze nothing but anticipation and reflection. As we make our way over to the song's second verse, a warm array of drums begins to tap through our speakers while Drouin paints beautiful lyrical images within our imagination. This song holds the perfect amount of emotion and psychedelia, especially as Cold Engines continue to pour their transcendent instrumentals over our ears, closing the album on this dreamy and chilling note.
We're more than impressed with the heart and soul that Cold Engines have placed into their latest record, 'Flower Covered Hills.' Find the new album by Cold Engines on all digital streaming platforms.
We adore the intimate and honest feel of your entire album, 'Flower Covered Hills.' Were there any moments that inspired your band to create such a passionate record like this?
Absolutely. This record being the 6th release of 2021 played a big part in the style and emotional content within. The album before this was a concept metal album, so for our last album of the year, we wanted to do something completely acoustic. The only rule was no electric instruments were allowed. The band is very close and we talk at great lengths about our releases and constant forward momentum artistically.
What concept or theme did you want to convey within the album, 'Flower Covered Hills'? What did you want to get across to your audience?
The theme of this album poured out along with all of the songs over just a couple of days. It’s very much a record about loss and everything that comes with that emotionally. The past few years have been dark and we really wanted to pay our respects to the ones we’ve lost along the way. The loss of love also played a large role in the theme.
Which song from 'Flower Covered Hills' was the most difficult to create in terms of emotion?
This album was very much an emotional outpouring and it quite literally spilled itself into existence in a couple of days. There were no hang-ups and it flowed without much effort. I think we simply had a lot to say about the subject.
Does your band have a personal favorite song off of 'Flower Covered Hills'? Why do you gravitate to that song in particular?
I really love the title track along with, I Don’t Know How and A Lot To Ask. I think I gravitate towards songs that hit me in the feels the most. Emotional content and being truly moved is what attracts us and what we strive to create with art.
Why did you choose to go down this country-inspired path for the record 'Flower Covered Hills'? Is this a sound you've experimented with before?
As I mentioned before we’ve released 6 records this year alone and have explored a ton of sonic terrain. We started the year with a full concept record based on the film Total Recall and followed that with a full concept sci-fi metal album, 80’s retro-futurism, full-on progressive/cinematic albums and wanted to end this big year of more than a million Spotify streams with an all-acoustic instrument ensemble recording. I think the magic of this year was that no one of our releases sounds anything like the others. We’ve always had a song or two in this singer/songwriter style on our previous albums. It was simply a time to do a whole record in that acoustic space.