Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)

What It Takes To Move Forward


Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) make music of another time. Their earnest (and at times, overwrought) sound recalls what the kids and critics once termed “Midwestern emo” (think the Promise Ring, Braid and American Football). Sunny Day Real Estate spawned it, and Empire! Empire! carry the torch.

The band hit paydirt on the propulsive “Keep What You Have Built Up Here,” where vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Keith Latinen strains for almost unreachable highs. Elsewhere, they use a lethargic tempo and meandering, twinkling guitars to mine the sediments of existential despair. The band’s Achilles heel is their song lengths (something to be expected, considering the word counts of their moniker and song titles). They definitely could have shed some time off the Mineral-esque “It Happened Because You Left,” which is rather unwieldy at eight minutes.

Still, Empire! Empire! show serious potential in crafting crowd-pleasing sing-alongs (“Rally The Troops!”). They would be wise to nurture that talent and fuse it with the energy of the livelier sections of their finer material (the writhing “It’s A Plague And You’re Invited”). The use of banjo, cello and trumpet on “With Your Greatest Fears Realized, You Will Never Be Comforted” demonstrates that these kids have a few tricks up their sleeves. Hopefully they’ll employ more unexpected moments on future recordings, since that is what it takes to move a superior band forward. (COUNT YOUR LUCKY STARS) Casey Boland

GO DOWNLOAD: “It’s A Plague And You’re Invited”