This album renews my sense of hope. I admit, I have been a bit
remiss in keeping up to date with the state of the slow-core rock
genre. I still look for new albums from Low on occasion,
and somewhat lazily follow the career of Mark Kozelek.
Other than that, I kind of thought this genre was dying, or dead.
Boy, was I wrong.
The Empress has released a new record that lives up to
the dreamy, softly lilting best of this style of music. The major
difference? Length. The Sounds They Made is ten songs long,
but it clocks in at just around 26 minutes. Talk about shunning
the existing merits of your genre! No slow driving ten minute
anthems here. Which is exciting. For a young band from Leeds,
who have gone through numerous line-up changes in their short
history, the music is simply divine. Nicola's voice shines like
a bright star in a midsummer's night, lending a sense of reality
to the soft textures of the underlying music.
The songs are beds of nondescript sounds and electric pianos.
There are slow plucked guitars ("The Worry And The Wine")
that sing out in heavenly echoes of grace. The songs are fitted
out with just enough sound to keep them moving, filling space
with softness, rather than any distorted or rough edges. Each
song maintains a distinct personality within the overall package
of sound, but never falls far from the tree. The slow and deliberate
piano rhythm of "All Is New Glow" is underscored with
ambient noises and reverse reverb loops- reminiscent of some of
Looper's finest work. "Snowshoes' is 1:17 of joy,
sounding as if it belongs among the soundtrack to a dreamy Christmas-time
If commuting by train between Leeds and Wales can make music
this transcendent, count me in. I'll buy a full year's pass.
1. The Summer December Starts
3. All Is New Glow
5. The Worry And The Wine
6. For Trains
8. It's Not all It's Cracked Up To Be
9. The Cold Stars That Shivered And Glittered And Lived
Vodka And The Verlaines
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