Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
Old Ideas Keep Fighting Us
Written by: PP on 11/01/2015 22:31:49
Dutch punk rockers Sweet Empire piqued my intrigue on their debut album "This Season Needs Torches" three years ago. It was a socially and politically charged melodic punk rock album with roots in Descendents style skate punk sent through a modernizing filter, resulting in a soundscape comparable to the likes of Propagandhi, Rise Against and even local colleagues in Antillectual. The same pace continues on sophomore album "Old Ideas Keep Fighting Us", though with a slightly cleaner sound overall.
Take opener "Wire", for instance. Here, the band toys with pop punk and playful vocal harmonies, resembling the upbeat intellectual pop punk of Iron Chic for a brief moment. Elsewhere, the guitars have a heavier tone and a little more edge, bringing to mind anthems by Rise Against although Sweet Empire don't use as many pop elements in their choruses. That doesn't mean their songs aren't catchy though. "The Breakfast Club Revisited", "Business Bastards", and "Army Boys" are all good examples of that. It's an upbeat expression, but at the same time enough edge is maintained both in terms of the vocal performance and the guitars to keep things strictly punk rock. And given the Propagandhi-style instrumentation, there's plenty of depth to be found on this record.
In other words, "Old Ideas Keep Fighting Us" is much like their debut album, but with a few added elements and minor adjustments. Don't fix what ain't broken applies here, and if you're into intellectual lyricism merged with catchy melodies and slightly more complex songwriting than the norm, Sweet Empire's newest record will satisfy all your needs. It might not be end-of-year list material, but otherwise it's a solid, well executed record throughout that'll keep them active on the European circuit.
Download: Wire, The Breakfast Club Revisited, Army Boys, The Abattoir
For the fans of: The Shell Corporation, Propagandhi, Rise Against, Iron Chic, Descendents, Antillectual
Release date 01.09.2014