My favorite track “Far From Now”, from Engine Down: Demure
2002 was a difficult year in my life - and during difficult times I have always found solace in music. I stumbled upon Engine Down: Demure while shopping at my favorite record store back home in NC. The album was displayed on a new releases listening station endcap (remember those?), and I was immediately attracted to the stark simplicity of the cover art. I put on the headphones, pressed play, and the off-kilter drum intro for Songbird began - I was hooked instantly. When the song finished, without hesitation, I picked up a copy of the album and purchased it.
What struck me after listening to the album repeatedly for several months was the restraint displayed in the writing, dynamics, lyrics, etc. At the time, the post-hardcore genre was not known for restraint - rather, it was a competition of who could be the loudest or the most emotionally cathartic. I’m not sure if Engine Down consciously made a decision to avoid the genre formula (maybe the album title was a pointed statement of their intent), but the albums ability to convey tension without reaching a breaking point struck a chord with me.
Ten years have passed since then and time has leveled the confusion of that era in my life. I tell you all of this because I have been revisiting the album recently, and it still resonates deeply. I believe music can teach you hard lessons about yourself if you are willing to listen. Demure taught me: When dealing with tension, practice restraint.