Influenced by late 90s emo, prior to its mass popularization, Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) brings back the genre’s best traits. Lacking the whiny “pity me, I’m depressed” elements of what would soon follow, this band reaches back to the greats like Appleseed Cast in their early days and, in particular, Mineral. This is all readily available information; true to the genre, they wear their influences on their sleeves. Like these influences, the instrumentation is a fairly low-key rendition of highly melodic post-shoegaze mixed with flat, dissonant vocals belted out through tired emotive lungs.
Empire! Empire! really takes you back to those days, when emo meant something; before the days when your middle school sibling thought it was cool to grow out their bangs, wear all black, and play with razor blades. It wasn’t always like that. At one time it was about something else – it was about music.
That’s the sort of nostalgia Empire! Empire! draws out: those evenings listening to albums alone while working on a term paper or finishing that busy work for Accounting or attempting to stay focused while reading the 50 pages Dr. Pinkleton assigned the week before. The tasks were always solitary and seemingly mundane, but it was the music – good music – that kept it interesting, and kept time pushing forward. Even when things were sad – say said girlfriend left or some other minor tragedy – the music was the purveyor of sanity. It was music like this that would make it all better.
Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) recently released a new album called What It Takes To Move Forward on Count Your Lucky Stars Records. Here’s a track from that LP: