Small towns in Wales seem to regularly turn up superb melodic rock bands, and Empire of Lights – with their new single ‘Hit The Highway’ is no exception to that rule. Sparse, echoey guitar, pounding drums, and driving bass are the order of the day here; there’s a gothy vibe to the music, a feel of ‘The Forest’ or ‘Jumping Someone Else’s Train’-era Cure, mixed with Johnny Borrell Razorlight vocals from singer John Aziz.
It’s a vaguely psychedelic, spacey sound – there’s something special about the dynamics of three piece rock bands; think Hendrix, Cream, Husker Du and Sugar, and of course Nirvana. The interplay between instruments and vocals, the necessity of accepting and using space rather than simply turning everything up louder than everything else, allows for a different approach and that serves Empire Of Lights well here, adding to that slightly ephemeral, dreamy feel, and coming from such a young band – drummer Eifion Davies is still too young to drink in the bars that Empire Of Lights should be playing this year – shows a realy understanding of arrangement and songwriting. The future looks very bright for Empire Of Lights.
Review by Alex Holmes