By Shayne McGowan
For Empra, the road to making this record and actually having it see the light of day has been a long one. After countless dollars spent and battles with recording studios, their self titled debut album has finally been released, and to say it has been worth the wait is an absolute understatement!
If you have ever seen Empra live, this material will be familiar to you, and you might even have a copy of the two song single that the band have been tirelessly promoting all over the country, but the recorded versions of these songs are simply amazing. The band has found their sound, and it is the kind of sound that will slide easily onto both rock and pop radio.
Opening track “I Won’t Give Up” is the perfect song to hook you in and leave you wanting more, “Hand Me A Livewire” ramps up the pace quite a bit, and in my opinion, is best listened to at a high volume!
“Doesn’t Make Much Sense” is up next, and it proves to be an extremely tight song from start to finish, and the perfect choice for lead single. The catchy sing along choruses are all over this album, but there is probably none better than on this song.
“Like A Runaway” is a very Foo Fighters moment. The influence of the Foo’s is all over this recording, and that is not a bad thing at all. Empra are by no means a clone. They are very much their own band, they’re just not afraid to let their influences shine through. “Like A Runaway” is an extremely well written song, and is another that is sure to have you singing along.
My personal favourite song from the album is “Only Love”. The vocals provided by Sanny Veloo on this track are a definite highlight, and musically the band is more solid than ever. “One Of These Days” and “One of a Kind” are both very solid rock songs. Again, either song could easily find a place on commercial radio, which is an absolute testament to the work that Empra have put into these songs. “Charity Song” is another of the major highlights of the album for me. The guitars from Sanny and Matt Gault are on fire throughout.
“Tragedy” and “Slipping Away” offer more of what we have by now come to expect of Empra. Well written rock songs with pop sensibilities and more than a just a nod to punk rock for good measure. After 10 songs that stick to a very similar formula, it hasn’t become boring at all; in fact I’m still waiting to hear more from the band.
That’s when they throw you a curve ball in the form of album closer “Sabrina”. The song is part ballad and part arena rock spectacular, but all simply stunning. The song also features a special guest who adds an atmospheric feel to the track, but if you want to know who that is, I suggest you go and buy the album!
As far as debut albums go, Empra have nailed it. There would be bands that have been around for twenty years who have never released a record as good as this one, and they probably never will.
Filed Under: CD Reviews
About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE