Empire - 'Where The World Begins' (Lightside Drive) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Monday, 14 October 2013 04:00

Empire CD cover Final"The best singer that I have ever seen in a venue of this size," was how I described Empire's frontman Joe Green to anyone in earshot when I saw the band for the first time earlier this year.


A band that impressed through the soundbites heard on social media sites previously would leave a mark after that initial live experience and, although it seems harsh on the fine musicianship of the other four band members, it was all about this singer with the massive voice and lashings of star quality.


'Where The World Begins' is Empire's new eight-track mini-album, a release that I was keen to dissect purely on the basis of discovering whether this band could bottle the lightning I saw flash across an intimate venue of suitably impressed paying punters several short months ago. Happily, they have.


Unashamedly insistent on their refusal to be penned into a particular genre or sub-genre Empire seem blessed with a scene-hopping multiple personality disorder of a kind that almost guarantees approval from all manner of audiences, the virtual cash cow of all up and coming bands. At its most technical Empire's cadre of tunes stretches for the upper reaches of the Coheed and Cambria catalogue, at its most melodic - and this mini-album is swamped in melody, some gorgeous - I can't help but think of Incubus, that's the band that I came away from that first gig thinking about at any rate.


Likely to appeal to both the post-hardcore and post-emo (if there exists such a thing) set, Empire have an unexploded bomb of a frontman that threatens to scar all who come within 100 yards; I'd find it difficult, I'm sure, to find someone who stumbled across the band live walking away at the end of the night not remembering the oft-incredible performance of Green.


Perhaps conveniently compared to Corey Glover given his appearance, Joe Green echoes the Living Colour singer in another, wholly important way - the ability to sing over, seemingly, any kind of music, even, possibly, the most unlikely, and make it soar, make it memorable.


'Black Hearts', the mini-album's opening track, is a real highlight, a strong introduction to the band for anyone looking to dip a tentative toe into these infectious waters. It's not alone, however; the track's seven hook-smeared brethren spiking in all the right places, never threatening to flatline. 'Future, Past & Present' starts with a vocal so perfect that it could be the centrepiece of Green's rock 'n' roll portfolio, and while songs like 'Friendly Fools' have a more angular guitar veneer, they are softened by the ear-velvet of the vocals, with some of the material, 'My Colour Optimistic' for example, hitting commercial mark after mark in a Kids In Glass Houses-esque fashion.


If, as the mini-album's title suggests, this is where the world begins for Empire then, seriously, it is not where it ends. In fact, there's a fighting chance that they could find it at their collective feet.


Did I mention the singer? Yeah, he's half decent...




To pick up your copy of 'Where The World Begins' - CLICK HERE