Empire Escape were born from the ashes of Ikaria. Because the band developed a different sound, they wanted to start over. After a drunken night in a pub in Liverpool called The Empire, a cabbie took a detour to show them the house in which John Lennon was born and said “This is where it all began“. And this is were Empire Escape began.
They continued their journey of finding an identity as a new band by traveling to the beautiful wideness of Sweden to record their debut album in spring 2012 with Mathias Olden (Logh) and Pelle Gunnerfeldt (Fireside, The Hives, The Knife). Their time in Sweden also gained them a support slot for Shout Out Louds‘ European tour this autumn (tour dates are below).
That they’ve played together for a long time really benefits the album. Colours doesn’t suffer from the usual growing pains of debut albums because Empire Escape have already grown up and out of their orientation days. Their sound always seems to hesitate between rock and post-punk which is owed to a certain melancholy that pertains to their music and most of all singer Hendrik’s baritone. While most of the songs are upbeat and dance-able, the vocals give them the same dark and melancholic sound that the genre is known for. Their sound easily compares to Joy Division, Editors, The National and White Lies – just for the purpose of throwing in some big names.
The three singles, Oui, Silhouettes and The Chemistry Of Colours are all stand-out tracks and most of the album follows their lead. Oui is a perfect opener that is catchy and builds up to a beautiful chorus. The Chemistry Of Colours, which inspired the album title, sums up what Empire Escape is all about: ‘The chemistry of colours gives conquence to the world / Form follows content, sing on, sing on, sing on‘. It is probably the happiest that Hendrik’s mellow vocals can get. Silhouettes let’s a slight folk influence shine through which is not surprising since the album was recorded in Sweden.
Only two ballads, There Will Be Blood and The Past Is A Strange Place, made it into the album. The latter has a bit of a shanty feel to it due to the accordion that dominates it while There Will Be Blood unfortunately is a bit sluggish until it builds up to a grant finale.
The penultimate track, Constellation, is another highlight that captivates you with its smashing crescendo. On Depart, the band pull out all the stops to outdo themselves. Their post rock past is most evident here.
If you like any of the bands above, you will love Colours. If you’re not a fan of the genre, you might find the album a bit repetitive but still very enjoyable. If you’re in doubt, check out the full album stream below. Colours is out today via VelocitySounds Rec. / Broken Silence.