Review Summary: Our time has come to run and hide.
In life, sometimes we feel that luck is completely and utterly against us. We feel hopeless as an entire world conspires to make our pitiful existence as miserable as possible; that the only thing to do is sit down and feel sorry for yourself as your life diminishes into nothing. I tend to get that feeling whenever I’m not in the mood to listen to music.
About a year ago I was having one of those days; I felt that life is something that eats you alive so you have no motivation to do anything. Thus, after an hour of staring at my blank ceiling, I decided to scour the Muse message boards for a second’s worth of entertainment. I explored the vast pages of “Top 10 songs!” and “Random Picture Thread” and as I ate through the many pictures and rants and arguments that people were having I realized I needed to find something different. That’s the moment I saw…it; this one word that nestled restlessly between the words “my” and “band” that screamed out at me like a dog chasing its tail (yes, a metaphor was needed at the moment). The word was new. A small, simple word that just happened to change my entire day for the better, and I was thankful. I clicked on this thread and another, more beautiful word reached out: free. Everyone loves free stuff and this person was not the exception. After pulling my eyes away from the lovely word I decided I should read what this…faceless god…had to say as he hid behind an avatar. He was asking for people to give his new band’s EP some much needed attention as he gave a menacing looking hyperlink. Just then, it just so happens that two new words rattled inside my brain to get free:
This link, as you could probably guess, took me to the site of pure indie-rock band Empire Machines
. The band is made up of four guys from Austin, Texas: Matt Blackwell, Trey McKinley, James Boriack, and Clellan Hyatt. These guys made this 6-song, self-titled EP from their own blood, sweat, and cold-hard cash; and it was most certainly worth it. The first song, Never Enough
, introduces the audience to the first part of the band: the sound (oh, and the drums). The music comes off catchy and the vocals unusually smooth as we are pulled into the band’s musical world. The song is an easy listen, but rewards multiple takes. Sweet Teeth
is most widely regarded as the band’s “single worthy” song. The lyrics are about a girl who seems lovely and sweet on the outside, but knows how to take advantage of guys. Nothing too original, but it plays it off pretty well. The most engaging song is most definitely Outpost
. The very beginning shows a bit of a U2 influence, but quickly climbs into something all its own. The words are mostly vague, but the lyrical climax of “And I'm just another red planet son and history's repeating”
is something that’s definitely worth a listen to.
Dog Eat Dog
begins the latter half that ends up following the same theme as Sweet Teeth only in a more bitter way. It’s a pretty short listen that doesn’t really add too much to the EP, but also doesn’t take anything away. Panda Thief
is the EP’s only instrumental. It showcases excellent production techniques and sounds from the band and could also act as a foreshadowing of the band’s next direction, if they were to take the risk. Burning Ties
works as closer as it mixes the themes of Never Enough
and Sweet Teeth
, as well as bringing back the same vague lyrics as Outpost
. The first thirty seconds or so the song showcases singer Matt Blackwell’s vocals, then quickly turns into the heaviest and deepest song of the album.
Overall, Empire Machines is definitely showing promise with this EP. The songs have excellent production considering the budget and are easy listens. We’ll have to wait and see if they continue this quality of songs, but in the meantime, get acquainted with the EP and you may be rewarded.
The band's website. It has the band's free EP download and lyrics: http://empiremachines.bandcamp.com/