Amy & the Engine – TandeMania
I first saw Amy & the Engine late last summer at Worcester’s stART on the Street festival. I only caught parts of two songs, not enough to form an opinion, but the band was handing out copies of its Summer of ’15 Sampler, so I picked one up. Over the following months, it worked its way onto my playlist, and I became increasingly enamored with the band’s radio-ready pop stylings.
EP Review of Amy & the Engine: TandeMania
Pop-rock. Catchy pop-rock. Harmonies, melodies, killer hooks, Amy’s saccharin, precise vocals. And most of all, simply well-written songs. These six tracks will get stuck in your memory quickly and easily, like… um… well, arrows.
First track “Arrows” is full of stops and starts, with vocals and melody flirting with rhythm and even some well-placed distorted guitar. It’s an energetic, pleasant start to a happy EP that reveals a lot more meat on its catchy bones with each listen.
“Love Me” follows with an immediately attention-grabbing rhythm that flows readily into a catchy pop melody augmented by well-placed pauses and tempo shifts.
If I had to select the two biggest potential hits, though all six tracks have the sort of timeless pop music quality that could catch and ride a hit-making wave, I’d place my bets on “Megaphone” and “Baby.”
“Megaphone” has a hint of Motown rhythm (really; listen closely) behind Amy’s soaring vocals – soaring away at the end of each word, at times – with a stop-and-start tempo and interloping guitar line. For a light pop song, “Megaphone” has a lot going on, all carefully interwoven into memorable ear candy.
“Baby,” meanwhile taps into a bit of an old-time “girl group” pop feel with singalong bits, but it’s mixed with a minimalist modern guitar line dancing among a bit of light strumming that camouflages a strict adherence to any musical era. In the end, it’s just yet another catchy, timeless pop song.
And that’s what the band does well. Timeless, catchy pop. When you learn the group formed at Berklee, it begins to explain the songwriting, the musicianship, the production value. Where else could you so readily assemble the talent to successfully form a sugar-sweet pop band whose music is structured and substantial enough it can’t be dismissed? Amy & the Engine possess musical, vocal, and songwriting skills honed by top-shelf training and diligent attention to detail. All they need now is that elusive big break. You and I can count ourselves lucky we have this EP to keep us company while we wait.
Upcoming gigs listed on the band’s website include Wednesday, May 4th in Toronto for 2016 Canadian Music Week; Tuesday, May 31 at Pianos in New York; Saturday, June 11th in Kennebunkport, Maine for the 2016 Kennebunkport Festival: Brews & Tunes; Sunday, June 12th in Portland, Maine for the Old Port Festival; Saturday, June 18th in Quechee, Vermont for the Quechee Balloon Festival; Friday, June 24th in Boston at Lawn on D; Wednesday, July 27th in Boston at the Harvard Longwood Campus; and Saturday, September 17th in Craigville Beach, Mass., with Cody Simpson at the 2016 Yellow Dog Music Festival. Watch the band’s website for additional upcoming dates as they’re announced.