Much like Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, Seth Engel is one of Chicago’s most active talents—even if his contributions often feel hidden. Engel plays in a variety of bands, such as Lifted Bells, Great Deceivers, Coaster, and even works with Ogbonnaya in Nnamdi’s Sooper-Dooper Secret Side Project. Not only that, Engel is a recording engineer who has worked on released by Pinegrove, Chew, and countless others. But where he truly shines is in Options, Engel’s solo project that’s amassed a vast discography in a short period of time.
The A.V. Club is streaming all of Options latest, Maxed Out, ahead of its release on Sooper Records on September 30. From the very start of “Feels Certain,” it’s clear that Maxed Out is the most accomplished Options release to date. As is his wont, Engel plays every instrument here, mixing acoustic and electronic instruments while crafting songs that dart across genre lines. While it’s easy to describe what Options does as math-rock that feels a bit limiting, as Engel’s not averse to vocal melodies that can anchor a song’s arrangements. That balance is struck consistently on Maxed Out, showing that Options is only improving.
Pre-orders for Maxed Out are available now on Sooper Records.
9/23—The Free Clinic—Kalamazoo, MI
9/26—Battery Street Jeans—Burlington, VT
9/27—Silent Barn—Brooklyn, NY
9/29—The Pharmacy—Philadelphia, PA
9/30—Tribal Haus—Baltimore, MD
10/3—Blips & Chitz—Champaign, IL
10/28—Rockey’s Piano Bar (The Fest)—Gainesville, FL