Engines Made From Soup - The Lemming Trail

Engines Made From Soup
The Lemming Trail

Jump to...

Released in 1991, Lemmings was an immediate hit. It sold more copies on day one than many games sold in total. The addictive puzzle of trying to save as many reckless rodents as possible struck a chord. But if you start thinking of that line of lax lemmings as a metaphor for life and see yourself as one of those careless creatures… that could be a song.

And that song, from Engines Made From Soup, starts with a drum beat, lead guitar, and keyboard that references a computer game sound (without using the cliched beep-boop tone). The verse is led by the acoustic guitar and keyboards. Some cross stick drumming leads into the chorus, which opens things up to a bigger sound with some crunchy guitar chords and a hooky melody.

The chorus makes the aforementioned analogy abundantly clear. This song is about feeling trapped in the daily grind.

I want to get off the lemming trail
I’ve got to get off this predictable tale
I need to get off before I go off the rail
Get off, get off, get off
Ooh ooh yeah

A quick screenplay

You can imagine the high-budget video that could be made for this. The singer is dressed in a polyester suit, sat in a cubicle. He sings the first verse to camera, and as the pre-chorus hits, it pulls back to show many other cubicles, all with workers in similar polyester suits – except they are all lemmings.

A shot of the clock. It’s five o’clock. The singer pushes himself up from his desk as the chorus starts, perfectly in sync with his animal colleagues, and they file out of the office in a uniform line. With the final chorus, the denouement, he breaks out of the line and dances in the road while the line of lemmings files along the pavement behind him, oblivious that he has broken free.

The original lemmings walk cycle animation.

Back to The Lemming Trail

That’s quite enough imaginary video. What does the record sound like? This single is musically rich. It has a classic soft indie sound that allows all the instruments room in the mix. It might not bite like a rock track, but plenty of songs throughout history went softer on the music without going soft on the lyrics.

This song is telling a story, and it does it well. It’s got melody, hooks, and a nice solo. Engines Made From Soup have created a song with the classic property of being vague enough that it will seem very specific to everyone who hears it. My flashback to working in a horrible office in the regulated finance industry is just one possible perspective. Someone who felt trapped in a bad relationship might interpret it another way. The song will speak to some aspect of your past.

I guess I’ll see you all in therapy!

Engines Made From Soup will release their second album, Contact, later this year.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

Discover More Music