In the Nursery

Engel

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While the Humberstones have been creating soundtracks for some years, Engel finds In the Nursery taking a more modern twist on that approach -- along the lines of numerous other darkwave bands, the group's work here is the soundtrack to a computer game created in Germany. Set years in the future and envisioning a post-apocalyptic landscape crossed with a dramatic spiritual setting ("engel" itself is German for "angel"), the game certainly has the sound of an intriguing project, and In the Nursery live up to their own high standards. In the same way that An Ambush of Ghosts reworked songs from Trust and Duality, Engel also revisits some past material. "Blue Religion" gets retitled "New Religion" and leads off the album with a roughly energetic take, almost sounding conventionally rock at points thanks to the bass and background yelps. Q's snare drum work and the usual mix of strings and other classical instrumentation, though, easily confirm who's behind the music. Elsewhere, the brilliant lead track from L'Esprit, "To the Faithful," is reworked into "Engel -- To the Faithful," with a new, slower string-led introduction leading into a new arrangement of the familiar melody that sounds even more breathtaking and heart wrenching than before. As for the album as a whole, in some ways it arguably combines many strands of In the Nursery's career in one place. There's the soundtrack element, of course, but there's also the experimental electronics familiar from the Les Jumeaux albums and the sweep of the band's standalone work as well. Dolores Marguerite C. takes a great lead vocal turn on "Angelorum," while the participation of oboeist James Watts and flautist Henrik Linnemann helps continue the tradition of evocative, beautiful In the Nursery music. Secret highlight: the reflective, quietly soaring "Aftermath."

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