Hear The Track HereOver the space of three tracks and a year or so, I became aware of Australian band The Empires who slowly but surely made an impression on me. You wouldn't have thought that if you had read the first review I did of them - You Won't Make a Fool of Me (December 2008). There again, the second track - Love Is The New Black (July 2009) - fared considerably better showing much improvement both in sound and technique and by the time I got to A Better Way (January 2010) I was positively effusive about them, awarding them a highly recommended for their efforts. For me that is one of the major upsides to this review stuff, you can actually hear a band develop and grow and The Empires were doing that well. That was then, though, and this is now so what's new nu? Well, the bandname for a start. The Empires have since grown up and become This Modern Empire and this is the first track from that new quarter. Right now there are only two tracks on the webpage, this and Love Is The New Black (but I'm not sure if that has been redone. Anyway we have How You See The World to pick on so lets get to it.
The members of the various Empires are not exactly talkative, informative or even visible and for a while there I was under the distinct impression that this was a one man band, although I don't think that now but I've never really had any confirmation of this. What has kept me listening is the poppy, zippy tracks this outfit is capable of, all in an Alternative style that suits the style of song perfectly. The tracks on Soundclick came about because reviewers like me had many things to say about the band's work and they wrote when requesting this review that they had 'gotten a little more professional in our attitude to recording our music' although I can't remember being that harsh on previous output. Anyway, if you were unaware that these were studio recordings, the instant the drums kick in at the beginning you would know instantly.
Taken from the forthcoming album The Clearest View, How You See The World shows that the band have learned much about presentation and style and it is obvious to me but probably because I am aware of where they came from. Although they are an Australian band, they manage to sound surprisingly American to me, at least in feel and remind me most strongly of Michael Stipe and his cohorts in REM. Now, you may think that good news, but let me qualify this. I don't actually like REM, and I never have although I can see that I am in a minority and one of my biggest bugbears about them is that I don't think they write decent songs. Can't say that about This Modern Empire though because, despite their sound problems in the past, have always scored most when the song comes into play. If How You See The World is an indication of how good the album is going to be, then this is definitely something to look forward to.
Highly Recommended Alternative (mopey but not dopey).