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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Check Engine
Check Engine
Southern Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The crank begins to turn, bearings spin, gears push, and so the engine starts. Check Engine creeps up to the starting line with an unpredictable 31 minutes of rock and jazz fusion. This Chicago five piece boasts Steve Sostak (Sax/vocals) and Chris Daly (Guitar) of the Sweep the Leg Johnny fame.

Chaotic. Beautiful. Angular. Jazz. Math. Punk. The list goes on and on of words one might use to describe the aforementioned Sweep. Although the elements that comprise Check Engine are along the same lines as Sweep, as the engine says "if you denounce the engine, don't denounce the engine". It's as simple as that. Don't write this one off as just another side project, or Sweep 2, because Check Engine prove to be neither. Main vocal duties are handled by one Joe Cannon and are often doubled by Sostak. Although the vocals are raw and stripped down, they possess a smooth and level quality. Most of the melody is provided by adventurous guitars, with Cannon and Daly feeding off one another. At times resembling that sharp Chicago math rock style (which Daly helped to perfect), and at others, very rhythm oriented, almost blues based, and with thick back beats following up. The Engine proves to be a well-oiled machine.

Check Engine show us that they know how to write an attractive lick. They just need to tie it all together. They still seem to be in that "figuring out the sound" phase, where the tracks don't seem to have a set consistency behind them. Don't be alarmed though, as 75% of this album is remarkable. Like the toe-tapping sparkler "Pain Don't Hurt", which follows along the lines of Chicago giants The Sea and Cake. I'm not sure what the future or even the present hold for Check Engine, but this is definitely a promising start.

Reviewed by Justin Grimm
A contributing writer for LAS, JG used to live in Bloomington, Illinois, and played guitar in a band called North By Northwest. Word on the street is that he now lives in Chicago and, (much to the ladies\' delight or dismay, depending on how you look at it) he has been procreating. To find Justin, just google \"juice454\" and something, like what he\'s been listening to, will pop up.

See other reviews by Justin Grimm

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