Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
This Season Needs Torches
Written by: PP on 24/03/2012 03:38:05
"This Season Needs Torches" is the debut album by politically and socially aware punk rockers Sweet Empire from Holland. It's another quality release from Shield Recordings (Make Do And Mend among others) who seem to do no wrong when signing new bands as of late. It's also one that should appeal to any of our more intellectually conscious readers, especially those who find that lyrics shouldn't merely complement the melodies; they should rival them in complexity and as the number one reason to get into an album.
Much like their local peers in Antillectual, who also specialize in thought-provoking lyricism, Sweet Empire play punk rock with considerable influence from Propagandhi's politically and socially charged lyricism and soundscape. The vocal melodies often follow similar structure and melody lines as those by Chris Hannah,but especially on "Torches", where the lead melody almost feels like a medley between Rise Against and Propagandhi from their more melodic eras. Instrumentally, however, the focus is on older, Descendents influenced mid tempo punk rock with simple but effective riffing providing solid groundwork for the lyrics to do their magic. They are heavy, thoughtful, and intellectual, ranging from topics dealing with the differences between pro-life and pro-choice stances in abortion, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many other issues that are usually too complex and multifaceted in their nature to translate well onto simple-minded punk rock songs.
This is something Sweet Empire do particularly well throughout the album. The lyricism shines and carries the album and gives it a level of depth and an additional dimension that's often missing from similar sounding albums. Though the melodies themselves may not compete on exactly even footing by the masters from Propagandhi, they are solid and impressive enough to warrant giving Sweet Empire a proper chance if you're into the political punk scene at all. Just keep in mind that the lyrics pay such an important part on the album that ignoring them removes a considerable chunk of the album's overall quality.
Download: Thank You, Torches, Dirt
For the fans of: Descendents, Propagandhi, Antillectual, Rise Against, Wiseheimer
Release date 01.09.2011