The word “mini” tends to connote something small and weak, but whilst Empire use the prefix for their new release Where The World Begins, it most definitely packs a punch that we weren’t expecting. Since the quintet revealed the 8-track offering last month they’ve been met with much hype and acclaim, and we are jumping on that bandwagon right now.
It’s clear right from the beginning of album opener ‘Black Hearts’ that these lads are onto something great. Growling guitars introduce the track in a moody and brash manner, with flecks of melody coming in to play gradually. The verses build excellently from singing guitar lines and driven drums into one of the best rock choruses we’ll hear this year. Even after plenty of listens through the release as a whole, this track remains up there as one of the best. Purely stunning.
Keeping the drama high, ‘All The Rage’ maintains the tempo and delivers another powerful chorus which, even just two tracks into the album makes it clear there’s something about the release that we cannot bypass, and that is frontman Joe Green’s impeccable vocals. From start to finish he wails, belts and croons in a way that would make us go light headed. Impossibly clear and smooth, he decorates tracks such as ‘Friendly Fools’ with his superhuman versatility – a talent he most certainly isn’t afraid to show off!
The verses of ‘My Colour Optimistic’ harks back to Deaf Havana’s Fools and Worthless Liars days in style, and the chorus would give James Veck-Gilodi‘s notoriously powerful pipes a run for their money! This is the point at which the high octane release takes the energy down a notch, but doesn’t lose any of the magic. Slowing ever so slightly for the melancholy-tinged ‘Same Mistake’, its emotive chorus propels it up there with the album’s opener as one of our definite favourites. Ending with the moving ‘Wish, Wish, Wish’, we are almost brought full circle, with the tempo upped and the moodiness switched back on. Circles never end, and with big thanks to “repeat” buttons, Where The World Begins doesn’t have to either!
After having this on repeat all day, it’s safe to say there is nothing “mini” about this mini-album. If you like pure, no-bullshit rock paired with absolutely killer melodies and indescribably huge refrains, then what the hell are you waiting for?! This album is the one for you!
Reviewer: Freya Cochrane