Pulse Engine – Polarised

Album Review by EDF

Pulse Engine are a London based duo comprised of Nick Cottam on bass guitar / vocals and Andrew Booker on drums / vocals. First impressions are that they sound like a latter day ambient Yes, which means that at least some of this is listenable.

The opening track INNER SECOND, which is similar to Yes, was partly written during a tube journey on the back of an envelope. A shorter version of the ambient EMBER appears here, moving swiftly onto INTERRUPT, which apparently is about ‘the disappearing art of listening during dialogue’. As Pulse Engine is a drums and bass outfit, SYNCHRONISE DAY was written to showcase what they are capable of, moving from a dreamy jazzy start to an out of place fuzzy bass and drums workout. This is swiftly followed by one of Pulse Engines twenty-minute workout tracks. Luckily, they have only spared a near three minutes snippets on the aimless RADIOACTIVE TWO.

OUTER SECOND is notable for its interesting 70’s bass guitar effect but ends up being a bit too prog rock for it to be enjoyable. CONTROL EYE is apparently Pulse Engine’s blue print to their live sound. You can understand how they came to the conclusion that they would gel as a live two-piece. HAYAL KAHVESI is their Middle Eastern flavoured tune that is slow to take off and finally turns into an Ozric Tentacles like workout. The title track itself, one of the longer tracks on the album, has had a bit of an off and on history. The slow burning POLARISED was nearly scrapped until Pulse Engine were stuck for one more track to perform live. DYNAMITE, one of the duo’s first collaborations is an enjoyable funky experimentation between MIDI and drums. The album closes off to the ambient LUNAR TROPICS.

While the duo’s set-up is interesting, there is not a lot you can do with this sort of experimentation. While some tracks have lyrics, others sound like dated prog-rock workouts. More musical hooks and less ambivalence is required for Pulse Engine to get any notice. Saying that, they must be a decent live act.

4 stars

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