Empire Affair have been impressing lately with their stunning live shows.
The problem with bands is that invariably they end up being either a really good live band or a terrific recording group but not both.
As regular readers will know we are big fans of the chaps in EA and you can find our review of their gig at The Athelstan here. The question of course is would they follow up their great last EP Sparks in the Dark with an equally interesting sequel?
Tallants' plaintive voice is perfect for the lyrical content of 'Forest Beyond the Trees', an entreaty to run away far from the madding crowd but twinned with a hint of 'Bombay Bicycle club'.
Talking recently the guys explained how much they enjoyed the different recording process this time in that they were locked away and could use the studio as much or as little as they liked. this gave us not only a volume of material (hence the almost album sized EP) but also allowed them to do stuff they liked rather than get a pressurised standard number and type of track down.
The results of this are easy to hear in the final track, the aptly titled 'End of Disco', with the fairground organ making a comeback but also a kind of prog rock vibe to the meandering guitar. All in all a successful full stop to the EP.
Overall this is a very successful EP. It's move on from the eminently likeable 'Sparks' and whilst having less poppy tunes does sound altogether more mature and well matched.
Empire Affair are a band making great strides and are showing that they are becoming as at home in the studio as they are on stage. I enjoyed this very much and it will be interesting to see how it plays live at their launch gig on 5th September. They've organised a cracking show at The Winchester so get yourself along and see some top quality music.
'Press Reset' eases us into the collection with an intro and theme that is pure Foals before Darren's drums beat into a haunting middle section that reminds of cold mornings waking in a festival campsite.
Track 2 is more like the old Empire with an indie pop beat but also synths reminiscent of Soft Cell and it's fair to say that Neil Tallant's voice on 'Don't let me down'has more than a little of Marc Almond about it. Synths are to the fore again in 'DNA Code' with an almost fairground organ sound but again with the indie beat behind. This is where the guys do something interesting with a tempo change into a much quieter and pared down middle eight followed by the full anthemic 'Kings of Leon' finish