Four piece indie-pop rock act, Empire Circus after spending several years living in New York have defined their sound and have just launched their self titled debut album off the label Paper Scissors Rock (NY). Dublin Concerts Laur Ryan recently selected the act as their band of the week, and when Empire Circus provided the Irish music scene with “There is a Light” EP taster, music blogs went totally mad over them. Musical influences range from ‘The Killers’, ‘Arcade Fire’ to ‘Gorillaz’. Mixed by “Bryce Goggin”, esteemed music producer to leading artists such as ‘Joan as Policewoman’, ‘Anthony and the Johnsons’ and ‘The Ramones’ over in Brooklyn – hopes are high for this debut and now we take a deeper look at Empire Circus’s debut album.
Opening track “Lights Out” is decidedly up-tempo, musically strong, but the vocals in particular possess a personal preference for the operatic or even pysch-rock, that only lovers of these genres truly enjoy. “True Believers” with its tinkling keys and swanky guitar, is infused with pop and euphoric elements of indie-electro and proves Empire Circus have been around for a while and intend on staying longer. Triggering a new energy with “I Know Better”, this has a lovely melodic quality, which is reminiscent of ‘Temper Trap’. “Current” with its upbeat pop sound, contains well formed harmonies.
“A Day in the Life of a Superhero” could be the song that will take them places, do follow this tune as it deserves a lot of praise. “There is a Light” is good, with a slight feeling of 1990’s nostalgia and indie-rock, you really get a sense of the band members reliving their school and college days again. Rock out to “All I Need”, it’s like a song by ‘The Frames’, quintessential Irish indie-pop rock. By the time we reach ”Planting Seeds” the slower pace is welcomed.
Stand out songs are “A Day in the Life of a Superhero”, “Sails Set For Sky” and “In Dreams” (an excellent song by the way) because they are super catchy, rammed with hooks and are serious Irish chart contenders. Think of “The Frames” sprinkled with “Temper Trap”, “Arcade Fire” and a side dish of “Two Door Cinema Club”, and you have Empire Circus.
Empire Circus album is musically strong, however the blending on the vocals at the beginning of the album went on a more operatic journey, which are best left to the “Matthew Bellamy’s” and “Freddie Mercury’s” of the rock world. That said, five songs in the lead vocal ‘found itself’ and the remainder was rather impressive. Lovers of the genre will be pleased; the band should garner a lot of radio-play on our Irish shores and no doubt many will welcome Empire Circus with open arms.
Review by Áine Byrne
In association with Dublinconcerts.ie