A horrible hack

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)

What It Takes to Move Forwards

Year Released: 2010
Format: LP
Label: sncl - Count Your Lucky Stars
Reviewed by Dan Bennett on Mar 17, 2010
What It Takes to Move Forward is an album two years in the making that despite numerous line up changes was primarily performed by the two core members Keith and Cathy. Couple that with the fact that it was painstakingly recorded by them both at Keith’s parent’s house and you have quite an achievement on your hands.

Already being a fan of the band’s previous output, I was intrigued to see what they could produce in terms of a full length, I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I have been duped by a storming 7”, only to be let down by the following full length.

WITTMF wears its influences on its sleeves and it’s all the better for doing so. Opener How to Make Love Stay sets the tone for the record with a riff that resembles that of LoveLetterTypewriter from Endserenading, and despite these obvious comparisons, tracks like With Your Greatest Fears Realized, You Will Never be Comforted manage to break the mould with a little diversity in the form of a song comprised mainly of banjo, something you’d never see on a typical emo record.

Lyrically the album is outstanding, Latinen has clearly poured his heart into making this record and it shows on songs like Keep What You Have Built Here, particularly with the line “Break meter and release, and still the voice it keeps and I wish your lungs would give out, finally”, or on It Happened Because You Left with “I can still remember the day you left, thoughts spilling out from my chest, like who will you be when you come back or even will you come back”. The former being delivered with sheer passion that rises to a scream whist being swamped by distortion on the bands most energetic song to date. The album’s peak is in the almighty closer An Idea Is A Greater Monument Than A Cathedral. A song that seems to just grow and grow in beauty, both throughout the song and on each repeated listen. The build ups and let downs are a feat in song writing, each twist blindsides the listener until the pinnacle moment arrives whereby Keith and Matt’s (of Look Mexico) voices harmonise in a perfect unison. Despite some songs clocking in at over 6 minutes long , WITTMF never feels like a chore to listen to and is a joy in every way, there is always something going on to keep your attention. Somehow beneath all the sadness on the record, lies a message of hope, it proves that music can be dark whilst also uplifting. As Latinen himself put it “I like to think that (we play) sad music that will make you happy when you are sad” Empire! Empire! are one of the most promising indie bands around at the moment and they have certainly proven themselves able to deliver a sold full length with WITTMF, just throw away any preconceptions you may have gathered about the band and just bloody listen to it.

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