Spotlight: Cold Engines' Total Recall-Inspired Album, "The Last Resort"

Cold Engines is a retro-wave band that hails from Boston, NY. As a band, Cold Engines sets out to deliver a wide range of experiences to their audience with emotionally-affecting performances.

Consisting of artists David Drouin, Aaron Zaroulis, Geoff Pilkington, and Eric Reingold, Cold Engines have been cohesively working together since 2015 in order to obtain their ultimate artistic goals, as well as to entertain their listeners with honest collections of stories that easily create an immersive listening environment.

Cold Engines recently debuted their highly anticipated album release, "The Last Resort", which worked to exhibit an array of heartfelt stories, ultimately inspired by the infamous "Total Recall" production by Paul Verhoeven's in 1990.

The album kickstarts with "Kuato Lives", an instrumental track that offers a natural groove and rejuvenating power via striking guitar riffs that capture the majority of the attention within this track. "Kuato Lives" offers a mood that feels uplifting in every sense - as we're listening, we quite literally feel as if we're on a mission to success.

Soon enough, the melody becomes locked into your listening memory, and you can so easily find yourself humming along to the vibrant rhythm. "Kuato Lives" was an intriguing choice for the first track of this album, as the production contrasts brightly from the rest of the presented narrative, which will become very clear as one listens on.

"You're Not in Love" follows "Kuato Lives", and brings back the familiar rush imparted by the old-school pop/rock era. "You're Not in Love" follows along with the exact kind of narrative one would innately believe, considering the title, but the band really goes into depth on the intricacies of lasting love. With a catchy melody and vibrant instrumentals, "You're Not in Love" creates a certain quality of contrast between production and storyline, ultimately reeling listeners in for a good time.

Cold Engines immediately takes it down a notch with the following instrumental track, "Dreaming", in which listeners receive a soft and sweet piano ballad that encompasses more soothing energy than previous tracks within the album. As a 45-second track, "Dreaming" quickly but efficiently balances the purpose of the album.

That characterizable mellow rhythm is kept persistent within the album's fourth track, "The Darkest Part". If you're in need of some music therapy, "The Darkest Part" is the exact kind of melody that works to soothe the soul. The track focuses on tribulations, specifically those that intertwine with patience, acceptance, and understanding. It's this track that displays the versatility of Cold Engines - their sound ultimately is able to combine various genres that feel so intrinsic to what their sound is all about, and yet, sometimes so expanded from what we would expect.

"The Darkest Part" falls perfectly into that description. With a similar narrative and effect, Cold Engines continue on the heartfelt storylines with "She Looks A Lot Like You". By now, the chronicle of the album becomes crystal clear. "She Looks A Lot Like You" explains the adversity of heartbreak and all of the thoughts that surface as a result of it. Bringing in more retro instrumentals, the track is able to feel quite reminiscent of the '90s pop/rock era, bringing back that exquisite rush of familiarity. Yet, that old-school approach gets slightly shifted with the albums following track, "Get Your Ass to Mars".

The instrumental track feels incredibly similar to the opening of the album and establishes an unsaid narrative yet again. The tempo is fast-paced and offers revitalization, so be prepared to have your listening taste buds completely ignited. Again, the riveting guitar presence allows for a robustly resilient sensation to wash over its audience, which in essence, creates an empowering environment. The melody gets shaken up with the album's seventh instrumental track, "Remember". Haunting piano stylings take over, and a mesh of various soundings get combined in order to source out extreme eclecticism. As an intermittent mid-way track, "Remember" brings about collections of soundings that are completely separate from the ones already established, and that works to offer new perspectives from the band's intention. With bright contrast, "Remember" serves an integral purpose on "The Last Resort". Remember that bustling, feel-good energy that's innate to Cold Engines' overall sound? Well, it's back with the following track, "Livin' for the Weekend". Focusing their energy on a familiar narrative we can all anecdotally relate to, "Livin' for the Weekend" offers prompt and good-spirited energy that can be effortlessly soaked up. A unique collection of instruments gets strung together, ultimately crafting another diverse tune by Cold Engines - a tune that becomes incredibly inherent to their overall sound as a band. But, the melody quickly dissipates, and things get slowed down for a second time with the following track, "Bad Part of Town".

"Bad Part of Town" showcases a collection of thoughts surrounding savory and bittersweet memories. The one component of the song that can be easily appreciated is the band's approach to the performance, and more specifically the authenticity of the performance. Each and every lyric is sung with purpose and true effect, which only works to amplify the narrative of the track. "Bad Part of Town" follows along with an impactful storyline of past experiences and the true significance that they can impart onto one's life. "The Last Resort" continues the emotional effect delivered by "Bad Part of Town". "The Last Resort" is purely an instrumental track, and brings in a fusion of synths that provide instantaneous relief. The melody is reassuring and calming in its own essence, and yet, halfway through the track, we feel bouts of contemplation ensue with the liberal rhythm. "Anything But Me" picks the energy back up slightly, and introduces itself via aggregations of soft-strumming guitars. Although the melody has slightly uplifted itself, the narrative remains similar, and expressions of pain, sorrow, and mindfulness get communicated across the song. With "Anything But Me", we find ourselves extending our sympathy and a sincere level of understanding. The song puts things more into perspective, and we genuinely find ourselves being introspective about life, heartbreak, and how the two interplay with one another. Next up is "Send Me Away", the album's twelfth track, which introduces a more contemporary accent, compared to previous tracks. The vocal performance within this particular track raises up the effect, precisely by expelling such truthful emotion. The integrated adlibs provide a stunning effect, and the raspy tone of the vocalist propels the song into a contemporary bout of perfection. Imagery is all too accessible with "Send Me Away", and an instant setting was established for us when listening to the track. If you take a moment to close your eyes and dive into the intricacies the song has to offer, you very well may find yourself drifting off to the melody, all while contemplating the projected message. The level of introspection delivered to listeners continues with "Big Bright Nothing", and it becomes increasingly clear what the band expects from listeners with this song.

At the 2-minute mark, tranquillity begins to wash over us. The instrumental choice plays a big role in the success of "Big Bright Nothing", and offers refreshing perspectives, which ultimately occurs via the various interpretations that can arise from such a track. Continuing on, we come to "Are You Leaving?", which only continues to establish the somber elements of the album. Painful recollections of past memories get surfaced, and it becomes incredibly natural to extend bouts of sympathy out. "Are You Leaving?" truly offered many opportunities to be mindful, and to reflect on life itself.

The band has a pretty good way of allowing listeners to think beyond the current moment, and to reach certain levels of introspection. "Are You Leaving?" only continued to play into the all-present theme of "album", and concluded the string of songs that mainly focused on one singular entity for inspiration.

Finally, "Total Recall" (yes, that's a reference), brings the album to a close, and with that, a showstopping close with the chosen instrumentals. We're left perplexed, soothed, and wanting more all at once. "The Last Resort" brought many varying narratives to light, all of which surrounded one pivotal storyline that offered great moments of understanding, composure, patience, and insight. Cold Engines strategically leaves listeners wanting more, and more, and well, more. "The Last Resort" was a perfectly balanced record from the band, and we're left in some serious anticipation for what they'll be releasing next.

Wow! "The Last Resort" was an incredible album, and well worth the anticipation. Now that the album is fully released, what're some learning curves and/or perspectives that were experienced through its creation?

We learned so much making our first fully conceptual album. It was very freeing leaning into the narrative of the film Total Recall. We felt very able and willing to take our music in directions we never thought possible. In the spirit of the radical rock operas of the past, we almost felt like we could be any genre we wanted to be and it was easy to shed the expectations of our last records.

Being a 15-track album, which tracks ultimately stood out to the band the most? Was there a particular track that the band was hoping listeners would be more drawn to, compared to others?

Choosing a favorite song on the album certainly feels like choosing your favorite child! So much thought and work went into each track that I think everyone in the band has a different idea about their favorite track. My favorites to play live are “Kuato Lives”, “She Looks A Lot Like You” and “You’re Not In Love.” In regard to our fans, we hope they listen to the entire record as a singular entity like concept albums of old. The album does tell a story in its entirety.

Considering the various experience garnered from each band member, how do you feel such an integration worked towards the success of "The Last Resort", and ultimately, the success of the band?

We are truly a band of brothers who care very much about each other and respect the professionalism and musicality each person brings to the table. I think the thousands of shows and dozens of records between us four speak loudly on this album. We always say and feel the band is bigger than the sum of its parts so there does seem to be a mystical component or chemistry with this group of people creating together.

What kind of message were you hoping got translated to the majority of your audience with the release of "The Last Resort"? Does the band prefer when the narratives get accurately understood via your listeners or are the band open to various forms of interpretations from listeners?

The message was to poetically embrace the story of the 80’s sci-fi masterpiece, Total Recall. It’s a far-out message that can be summed up with regular people coming together to defeat powerful and oligarchic corporate overlords.

The songs and lyrical messages within can and will be interpreted differently by every listener and that’s just the way it goes. Some of the songs are a little more literary than others but most are poetic enough to be universally related to.

Are there any plans to virtually perform "The Last Resort"? What're the next steps now that the album is fully released?

Well, as of now we hope that shows to come back in a safe manner as soon as possible and we can perform the record in its entirety one day. In the meantime, we are doing what we always have done and working on more music. That's what we’ve been doing since we were kids and we hope to keep moving forward and raising the bar along with following our hearts and instincts with what WE want to make rather than placating to any expectations.