Cold Engines are the North Shore Boston natives dominating the retro-wave, power pop, and melody-driven rock sound they’ve fostered.
The project of radio darling/touring machine, The Brew’s founder David Drouin alongside drummer Aaron Zaroulis, Geoff Pilkington, and Adam Saylor, the group emerged in 2015 with a prolific run of 12 full-length albums and over 140 shows a year.
Launching in 2015 with its debut record in the can, the band started in The Brew's ashes. Cold Engines quickly pivoted to capture something special. With the relentless pop hooks of The Police, Queen, The Smiths, Neil Young, and The Beatles serving as inspiration, Drouin knew exactly what he was after.
Six years into their journey, the band has found itself fully and without apology as a new wave power pop force with their 12th album release, 'Flower Covered Hills Chapter.2.'
Throughout the ten tracks on the album, Cold Engines professes their nostalgic vision as they paint our minds with glowing images that jump to life in the poetic realm of lyricism. Opening up the album with a track like “All Talk,” your energy is shifted in a dreamy aura rich in soothing vocals as the graceful energy Cold Engines drives home accompanies powerful lyrics driven straight into your heart.
Mastering their sound over the course of their career, they’re no strangers to what they do best as individuals and collectively. A medley of authentic instrumentation representation and glimmers of electronic finesse rounds out the sounds portrayed, and you can hear how they match it to every song on the album.
A record like “Hey There” simmers in a field of passion as the pulsating percussion adapts to velocity to suit the story now conveyed. Swaying in the adoration of love and the pain it brings. The brilliant vocal performance is velvety and eases into your headphones, sonically codling you with an earnest embrace.
With melancholy and optimism being poignant themes as we weave through the album, “Still Here” and “On Your List” are prime examples of how Cold Engines immaculately carves out respective space for your emotions to shift.
With “Still Here” powering through with a jaunty and upbeat nuance, the song has your mind more focused on moving and grooving to the beat as the bassline drives this piece home. As “On Your List” thrives in a melancholic environment with this key forward ballad playing into the ebb and flow of the percussion patterns, Cold Engines instills a new perspective on a theme often touched on.
Each song heard is rich in its organic integrity, allowing us to take it in more thoroughly in a natural state. Through prolific mid-tempos, thoughtful and somber paces, and the upbeat groove that catches you off-guard every now and again, Cold Engines takes advantage of each peak and valley as they portray their elegance throughout 'Flower Covered Hills Chapter.2.'
“Nothing to Prove” has worlds colliding as inquisitiveness is poured into this record, and you’re raveled in myriad melodies luring us into the tempo in such a profound way. Then panning to the album's next song, “Like It Or Not,” the contrasting feel-good essence as the foundation for somber lyrics of realization evokes yet another series of emotions through expressive and silky croons offered.
The detailed songwriting that illuminates the chronicles of Cold Engines’ themes captures each song's captivating magnetism. The hooks are golden. The melodies free-flow effortlessly, and there’s a prolific offering of realization that allows us to tap into a more introspective head space as we bask in the striking words upon us.
“Ride With Me” is an exceptional example of the continual tight performance they exude, highlighting their unity's strength. Each irresistible sound has its own respective space that’s accounted for, and they luminously dance amongst one another with poise and grace.
As we embrace a song like “I’m Trying,” Cold Engines pushes the envelope while staying in the pocket of a sound they’ve come to dominate. Swaying between promising and wistful vocals that have us feeling emotion in some of its purest forms, you’re steered in the exact route that Cold Engines intends for you to venture towards.
One thing that remains consistent throughout the album in its most comforting measures has to be the lush grasp of each guitar riff keeping in the tune of the emotive nature – no matter what. Whether it be peppy strums or beautifully arranged plucks, you thrive with Cold Engines amongst the satisfying glow of warm-heartedness.
As we come closer to the end of 'Flower Covered Hills Chapter.2,' we’re graced with two ballads that adopt a classic format while standing tall amongst the rest of the records heard, “Somewhere Underneath” and “Don’t Hang On,” cater greatly to the various frontages of Cold Engines in the sonic persona they convey – which is rather remarkable.
There’s something for everyone as the raw and elegant lens they hand us has access to a window from which only the beholder can peer.
Welcome back to BuzzMusic, Cold Engines. We’re always so excited to speak with you about your latest work! We loved taking in 'Flower Covered Hills Chapter.2' from start to finish. Each song was able to comfort us in familiarity, all while offering a refreshing perspective into the themes addressed. With this being chapter two, what was the concept you instilled into this body of work?
There were a lot of songs that weren’t able to fit in chapter 1. When some time passed between then and now, I had written many more in the same vein, so it just felt like it needed to be a record.
There’s such an effortless flow in how the album is laid out, was this done on purpose? How did you decide on the natural layout of the tracks?
Thank you so much! Honestly, it just happened that way. Luck of the draw, I suppose.
Could you please highlight the main message you want your audience to take away from this album? Do you find that any songs do a better job of conveying that message than others?
Our message continues to be one of hope. I’d really like people to know they are not alone.
We would love it if you could look at the creative process of bringing this album to life! What was this process like?
That’s a great question. We write songs in a weird kind of way. We start to play and sing while recording on a single mic. We stay out of our way and let the songs write themselves. If something doesn’t work or it hits a wall, we abandon it immediately with no time wasted. So, it feels like we help the song come to life rather than consciously “writing” it.
What can we expect to see and hear from you come 2023?
A big year with a lot of rock & roll and many more records!