Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)

What It Takes To Move Forward

Written by: DR on 19/12/2009 17:10:52

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) are a band from Michigan with a long name and an affinity for the 90s. No, not those 90s fads such as Tamagotchi, Friends and Sonic The Hedgehog (though Sonic was, and remains, AWESOME), but instead 90s emo; bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral. E!E!'s debut "What It Takes To Move Forward" will have a real degree of nostalgia for those of you in your twenties who fell in love with "Diary"; and as expected, E!E! clearly draw influence from aforementioned bands, which could be construed as a fault to some, and a strength to others.

The lo-fi, demo'y production, the heartfelt lyrics, and passionate vocal croons are a given for the genre. But what they don't do is fall foul where a lot of indie bands do: over-complicating things in a vain bid to appear intelligent. Instead, things are kept relatively simple, laid back, which goes a long way towards this bands appeal. What sets E!E! apart from the rest is their ability to seamlessly switch between quiet and loud, soft and aggressive, yet even when they are at their most anguished there's a delicate edge to them, largely because of Keith Latinen's vocals. Superbly unique, (or should that be uniquely superb?) it's a terrific performance from him. "Keep What You Have Built Up Here" is perhaps the heaviest song on the album, having an almost clean post-hardcore feel to it, Keith slides between soft whispers and cries - which, quite frankly, sounds like a child screaming, annoying at first, yet you'll learn to love them.

There is tremendous song-writing ability on show also; "It Happened Because You Left" a fine example of the ability to go through long periods of instrumentation, maintaining the slow-tempo and allowing Keith to do his thing, before building up to more of those wails. Add on top some of the finest lyrics you'll hear all year:

"Will the same mistakes haunt you like they used to do?

Or are you afraid that your body won't let you choose?

You are your father's son, the same disease that holds you held him once!

And I know that if you push this hard it will still take hold.

You cannot accept the things you can't control.

And I know your mind is young but your body's old.

And you can't forgive yourself (though no one else could blame you for this).

But hold on! Hold on! Hold on!"

That's from the finest song on the album "An Idea Is A Greater Monument Than A Cathedral", which features a fine cameo by Matt from "Look Mexico" (another band worth checking out), he brings a normality with his voice (compared to Keith's) that really brings the songs into its own as he sings:

"And already I can't remember the heart was ever aware

that the body it kept alive was wearing out, was shutting down.

And tonight, when it realized, you gave up, it cried out,

'only now, I realize I always knew.'"

There aren't too many of what some might call "stand out moments", partly because from start til finish it's consistently superb; it's the kind of album you play again and again and let it run through, admiring the melodies, the lyrics and the vocals. If you happen to be a fan of emo, back before it was all long fringes, wearing entirely black and conforming by "not conforming", you know, when it was about the music, you need to listen to "What It Takes To Move Forward". Alternatively, if you happen to be a fan of pretty fucking awesome music, then you too need to listen. It's near the end of the year, and I pretty much had the best albums nailed down, I wasn't expecting the list to be blew up at this late stage by an unknown, but Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) have done just that.

Download: An Idea Is A Greater Monument Than A Cathedral; Rally The Troops! Poke Holes In Their Defenses! Line Our Coffers With Their Coffins!; It Happened Because You Left; Keep What You Have Built Up Here
For Fans of: Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, Tigers Jaw
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 29.09.2009
Count Your Lucky Stars

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