Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) – Home After Three Months Away
The impressively-named Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) have only been reviewed in the briefest of forms here on NFI: they contributed a single song toward a split with Into It. Over It. It wasn’t much to base an opinion on a band around but it was a gentle and melancholic piece of music that I enjoyed well enough.
Home After Three Months Away is a four-track EP from the band, with all four tracks around the two or three minute mark. Opening with ‘The Loneliness Inside Me Is A Place’ – a cringe-worthy title, if I’m on honest – things get off to a bad start; whilst the guitar noodling is quite inventive and playful the chord progressions don’t have much going for them. The song also builds steadily over its length but the effect of this is mitigated by the band’s determination to remain so very mellow.
Fortunately things feel more active when we come to ‘Water’, a comparatively energetic tune thanks to plenty of crashing and trembling cymbals, more charming guitar noodling and some clean palm-mutes in the verses. Then there’s ‘Everything Rests On Your Small Shoulders’, which is a little more driving as well and features lots more lush, comfortable guitar noodling.
But it’s with ‘I Swim Like A Minnow’ that it occurred to me that, actually, there is something to Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate). Wrapped around a lush melody, the bass and guitar lay down an incredibly simple yet evocative line – just two picked notes throughout a chord progression – but it works astonishingly well. It’s the sort of song I wish I’d heard five or ten years ago, because I would have adored it. Even today I kind of love it. It also reminds me a little of Stegosaur, who I wrote about last year.
Anyway, even if it is primarily on the strength of that final song, I can’t not recommend Home After Three Months Away to fans of introspective, sedate indie/emo bands such as Mineral or American Football.