Album review by KevW
It wasn't many years ago that artists such as Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen weren't considered particularly cool, respected maybe, but they belonged in your Dad's record collection. The only time it would be deemed acceptable to actually listen to them would be at karaoke. The literal meaning of the word 'karaoke' is, of course, Empty Orchestra, the chosen name for this large gang of Michigan musicians. It's a challenge to sit through their second album 'One More Time, All Together Now...' and not think of the aforementioned US rock heroes. But are Empty Orchestra cool? To be honest I couldn't really give a monkey's and neither should you, but at a guess they answer's probably yes.
Thanks to The Hold Steady and their punkier cousins The Gaslight Anthem among others, this kind of all-American, blue-collar rock has been reassessed in recent years, and Petty and Springsteen once again headline festivals on UK shores. Empty Orchestra sound very much like the offspring of all those artists, their sound sitting slap bang in the middle of the lot of them. But there's more to a good record than the style, you need the tunes and Empty Orchestra have them. It's not quite headline material yet, but there are anthemic moments and an passionate, gutsy feel to the whole thing. Vocally lines such as "the world wasn't made for people like us, it's for those more forgetful and industrious" in 'No Such Place' are sung with the soul and outsider mentality that characterised the likes of 'Born To Run'.
Rockier numbers 'Broken Record' and 'You Should See The Other Guy' have the potential to become hymns for the young and disaffected everywhere, and with unifying statements such as "we believe we are something better together than apart" they have the potential to become a band that actually matters to people, a band to put your trust in, just like the heroes whose songs have acted as their forerunners. 'One More Time, Altogether Now...' is a big album from a band who sound nothing but determined. A decent amount of press coverage or a few good support slots and they could be well on their way to becoming a pretty big name themselves.
Empty Orchestra's website
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