13 Engines

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13 Engines
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresAlternative rock
Years active1985–1997[1]
Past membersJohn Critchley
Grant Ethier
Jim Hughes
Mike Robbins

13 Engines was a Canadian alternative rock band active in the 1990s.


Formed in 1985 as The Ikons, the band consisted of four York University students—vocalist John Critchley, guitarist Mike Robbins, bassist Jim Hughes and drummer Grant Ethier. They released a self-titled independent cassette in 1986 before changing their name to 13 Engines. This name was a reference to the automobile industry in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, which were the first two markets to embrace the band.[2]

They released two independent albums, Before Our Time in 1987 and Byram Lake Blues in 1989, before signing to SBK Records in the United States and EMI in Canada.[2]

Their major label debut, 1991's A Blur to Me Now, gave the band airplay for the singles "King of Saturday Night" and "Big Surprise". However, SBK dropped them soon afterward.[2]

1993's Perpetual Motion Machine, produced by Critchley,[3] was the band's breakthrough in Canada, spawning the hit singles "More", "Bred in the Bone" and "Smoke & Ashes", and led to a spot on The Tragically Hip's Another Roadside Attraction tour.[2]

They followed up with Conquistador in 1995, which gave them another hit with "Beneath My Hand".[2] While the album is generally hailed as 13 Engines' finest work, it did not do well commercially[4] and two members subsequently left the band. Critchley contemplated carrying on under the 13 Engines name, but ultimately elected to retire the band.


Following the breakup of 13 Engines, Critchley continued as a solo artist and recorded an album with ex-13 Engines guitarist Scott Stevenson entitled Crooked Mile in 2000. He currently focuses his attention on producing and engineering at Toronto's Green Door Studios, which he owns.[5] He also scores film and television projects.


  • Before Our Time (1987)
  1. Come Back Lover
  2. It's Easy To See
  3. The End of Your Chain
  4. Annabel Lee
  5. The Reunion
  6. Mothra
  7. Cold Pennies
  8. No More Flowers
  • Byram Lake Blues (1989)
  1. Revenge
  2. Beached
  3. Gimme Now
  4. Rest In Between
  5. My Time
  6. Blue Funk
  7. Love Blooze
  8. Making Love Alone
  9. Wish Upon A Star
  10. Memory
  11. Blue Smoke Curl
  • A Blur to Me Now (1991)
  1. Big Surprise
  2. Suffocate
  3. King of Saturday Night
  4. Another Toss of the Coin
  5. You're Nothing If You're Not Strong
  6. Abandoned
  7. Hurry
  8. Clear
  9. Gathered Safely In
  10. Rolling Home Again
  11. Elephant Song
  12. Throttle Open Wide
  13. Night of the Shooting Star
  • Perpetual Motion Machine (1993)
  1. Bred in the Bone
  2. Saviour
  3. More
  4. Unconscience
  5. The Golden Age
  6. Smoke and Ashes
  7. What If We Don't Get What We Want?
  8. Unbound
  9. Perpetual Motion Machine
  10. Moment of Clarity
  11. Dirty Little Rat
  12. The Estrangement
  13. Going Under
  14. Lift You Up
  • Conquistador (1995)
  1. Beneath My Hand
  2. Reptile Boy
  3. Menefreghista
  4. Slow
  5. Naked
  6. Vermilion
  7. Tailpipe Blues
  8. Satellite
  9. Bird of Prey
  10. Cootie Girl
  11. Zone
  12. Even the Sailors
  13. The Listener


  1. ^ cfrb.com[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e "13 Engines". Canadian Pop Encyclopedia. Canoe Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  3. ^ "ArtistDirect" review of Perpetual Motion Machine
  4. ^ "ArtistDirect" review of Conquistador
  5. ^ Green Door Studios' Official Website