Review by Mickey Nicholas.
Commonly espoused by short people with inferiority complexes, the old saying that good things come in small packages tends to be spotty in it’s applicability- you end up with a plethora of creations made by people who heard the idiom and decided to focus on the “small” rather than the “good”.
Belfast-born Empty Lungs have, with their new E.P. Don’t Get It, bucked the trend and gone down the less-travelled route of quality over quantity. It’s only three tracks, and was released by Canadian label Hidden Pony Records earlier this month. Despite it’s brevity, it’s an album packed with indie-rock, angsty punk and nineties pop influences- after having given it a listening to on repeat for an hour solid, it still hasn’t gotten old. It sounds like what would happen if Britpop legends Pulp married Rise Against, and together they produced a musical lovechild that had just come out the other side of puberty and wasn’t best pleased with what it had encountered thus far.
The first song Don’t Get It, has an excellent intro with hard punk riffs and pounding drums, a shouty chorus and lyrics about the benefits of clear communication between the sexes. The boys know their way around their instruments, and the vocals are excellent. It’s a short song, but a fantastic one to introduce themselves with. We’ve got Kev Jones on guitar, Mykie Rowan on drums and Conor Langan on bass. All of them contribute vocally, lending to a layered sound that’s pretty fun to air guitar along to, if you don’t know how to actually play a guitar.
The second song Losing It. Finding It sounds like something I would have listened to when I was younger, in the distant green summers of yore. The song is brilliantly structured, moving from slow to fast in nice smooth transitions- it doesn’t sound jerky or poorly timed. Also, the song has “woahs” in it, and everyone and their mother knows that if a song has “woahs” in it, it’s probably a winner.
Fragile, the last track on the E.P. starts with a nice dirty bass-line running underneath some pretty dark lyrics- dark, but not pessimistic, it may sound at first like an angst-ridden track, but it’s not. There’s some excellent guitar on this track, taking from the bass and running with it, adding a whole new dimension of sound to the song alongside the vocals. It’s the slowest song out of the three, not really one for jumping around to, but still good for a groove.
It’s a fantastic E.P. that shows off the band’s talent- three different songs with similarities, but not in anyway samey. Empty Lungs are on the last stretches of a UK tour, but if this E.P. is anything to go by, I’d put money on them being back soon enough.
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