Review Summary: by meticulous word choice and closed lips
It’s difficult to believe it was only two years ago when What It Takes To Move Forward
was released, with the myriad of other bands that have followed suit and began worshipping Kinsella & Co. again with midwestern-emo Revival fare, with the plethora of quality releases off of Count Your Lucky Stars Records, with the general reinstatement of the style back into regular music discussion. Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)
, clumsy titling and all, return for an EP to quench the craving of fans that have heard plenty of the band’s newfound contemporaries since ’09 but have been missing material from the Michiniginians who so expertly and gracefully reinterpreted the soft, thoughtful sounds of American Football and Mineral and further incorporated a sobering, indie aesthetic. Stylistically, 7’’ Home After Three Months Away
is not a far cry from the heralded emo-revival centerpiece What It Takes To Move Forward
. Less bombastic than its predecessor, Home After...
relies more on immediacy and catchy melodies. Slow-burning build-ups a la “It Happened Because You Left” would have been awkward and clumsy compared to the 2-to-3-minute morsels. Though, where Empire! Empire! have quieted down, cut off the fat, and become pithier, there’s room granted for other particularities to flourish.
Home After Three Months Away
and its semi-accurate namesake is the type of work that makes you realize something you’ve always felt but never knew-- Empire! Empire! write some of the most entrancing, genuine, and expert lyrics as of late. Latinen’s distinct writing style makes no swift departure from the LP, as his story-like lyrics are still filled with dense symbolism and copious literary devices, dripping with nostalgia. While there’s no clear highlight among the four, “Everything Rests On Your Small Shoulders” falls among the 7’’ as one of Empire!’s most beautifully written songs to date, lightly touching on religion and recollections. It’s the type of track (well, the type of EP actually) that makes Keith Latinen’s ability as a writer ever-apparent. It should come as no surprise to listeners that he has a Degree in English. The lyrics take on a more prominent role above the more airy tunes, here, and it reveals new sides of Empire! that may have gone unnoticed buried beneath the grandiose musical statements of before. In effect, while any singular tracks would have fit in on WITTMF
, the 7’’ at hand properly differentiates itself without making any large leaps forward, per se. Mirroring the music, rather than making any grand gestures about Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)’s place among the stars, Home After...
is a subtle reminder as to the power of their emotional music, beautiful melodies, and absolutely exquisite lyrics. Three months? Two years? Too long away according to me.