Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) – You Will Eventually Be Forgotten review

EEIWALE promo imageSince the release of the married duo’s last full length record, the “emo revival” pair have racked up 4 EPs and 12 splits, refining their sound in over 60 tracks, to produce their long-awaited second album, You Will Eventually Be Forgotten. Keith and Cathy Latinen, who called the tiny town of Fenton, Michigan, home, are one of the bands key to bringing back the sound, and perhaps that’s a clue to to why each song is as carefully crafted as a piece of exquisite art.

The title of the album only hints at the honesty of the album, and opening track, Ribbon, confirms that. Barely-there simplistic guitar provides the instrumental of the song, with the focus remaining on the story-telling aspect of the lyricism, telling of a car crash on a wedding day. Honesty doesn’t only come in the form of cruelty though, and closing line, “scrapes and a bruises only made you more beautiful”, is so sincere with the compassion it holds, it’s impossible to not remain hooked on the vibrant plots of each piece of art.

It is common after such a soft opening track that the rest of the album should commence in a louder, more crass manner, and while the instrumental does pick up for I Was Somewhere Cold, Dark… And Lonely, the deep rooted sense on saying-it-like-it-is remains. The tendency to stay away from cliches in the lyrics (“my life did not flash before my eyes”) whilst remaining on good terms with the truth (“time ground to a halt and froze”) is a trait which reinforces the realism of the stories told, almost placing you in the position of the vocalist. We Are People Here. We Are Not Numbers shifts the focus to the almost grungier guitar, as Keith speaks fondly of Cathy, adding another, more personal note to the album.

The attention to detail is prominent in A Keepsake, with lines such as “we woke up early and packed packed lunches”, and only adds to the fact that the songs are written free of analogies and metaphors. This, combined with the disinclination to choruses, makes the songs even closer to story-telling, with a continuous plot to drive the sound. At just under five minutes, You Have To Be So Much Better Than You Ever Though is the longest song off the record, and holds a tighter control of the instrumental in relation to the lyrics, which it building and breaking as the angst in the vocals shifts.

Stay Divided provides another dose of attention to detail plot of a childhood event, the vocals holding a high degree of control, especially in the longer notes and more passionate sections of the track. It’s almost baffling how the pair can make tracks about such, well, ordinary events so addictive to listen to. Foxfire manages to slip in half a second of piercing vocals, before the strong guitar and percussion bring in one of the most instrumental backdrops of the album. The signature vocals are still present, though less clear and prominent as before, and the abrupt close comes as somewhat of a shock before Things Not Worth Fixing proves the return of the minimalist backing and lyrical concentration.

If It’s Bad News, It Can Wait is one of the heavier tracks on the record – not necessary in sound, but in plot, with the vocal emphasis of the opening and close holding a strong contrast. Penultimate It’s So Much Darker When a Light Goes Out than It is another heavier track, simply in the fact of the music with catchy guitar riffs to close the track, before final, simplistic The Promise That Life Can Go on No Matter How Bad leaves a large question unanswered at the end of the record; “is this still worth putting our lives on hold for?”

The entirely personal stories contained in the track prove to be shockingly real, and almost make this more of an anthology than an album. To be released on 19th August via Count Your Lucky Stars and Topshelf records, each story on the record holds elegance and cut-throat honesty, with a finish of slick competence.

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