Blank Page Empire

Sleeping Sound

Written by: TL on 06/01/2013 22:03:02

Two things strike me as I listen to "Torn From The Ribs", the opening tracks from the "Sleeping Sound EP" by Minneapolis quartet Blank Page Empire: One, that the EP would probably have been more aptly titled "Rousing Sound" and two, that this is a band that wants to sound big. And by big, I mean cinematic, epic even - What else can you say about an EP that opens with four minutes of almost nothing but reverbed feedback and ambiance that builds and builds in best post-rock fashion? In fact, save for some power chords hammered ceremoniously towards the end of the opener, you'll have to wait till the beginning of "Recluse" before you hear a real riff, but then at least you get a pretty recognisable one of those, sounding a lot like something from Mew's "no more stories...". It's a more conventional song, as are the following "Matrimony" and the later "Weeper", and hear we get to really hear some of the clear vocals that strike me as a mix of Idlewild's Roddy Woomble and Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull.

It's a potent and highly atmospheric soundscape when all the elements mentioned are put together, and despite the references so far I'd think the more accurate comparisons are to post-rock bands like The Unwinding Hours, Union Sound Set or Lights Action. The only problem that presents itself is that I must on occasion question the band's longwindedness, however intentional it may be, as I can't help but to think that an EP that has such a long intro, another track that's essentially an interlude in the simple "Rapid Eye Movement" and then a 10 minute marathon track in closer "Mountain Of Youth"; should really repay the listener's patience with at least slightly better climaxes. It actually confuses me a little bit that the refrain that strikes me as the EP's strongest has been spent in "Rapid Eye Movement", which seems like a compositional afterthought compared to the grandly arranged remaining tracks.

That said, I get what the band is trying to do, and I commend them for it, remembering just how great moments others like the mentioned Unwinding Hours and USS - as well as My Epic - have delivered in the past. Moreover, I like that the there are in fact more conventional tracks on offer than just a repetition of the classic ramp-up-and-up-to-the-climax formula - although unfortunately, the rather awesome, technical and organic sounding bass riff in one such alternation, "Recluse", is hidden too far down in the mix for my taste. Overall though, when the stormy drums and harmonies of "Mountain And Youth" eventually plays out, the impression that remains with me is that this is a good start, but that Blank Page Empire can get a good deal better if given time to hone their craft and ideas.


Download: Recluse, Matrimony, Weeper
For The Fans Of: The Unwinding Hours, Union Sound Set, My Epic, Mew, Lights Action
Listen: facebook

Release Date 27.11.2012
Red Cord Records

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