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Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - What It Takes to Move Forward (Cover Artwork)

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate): What It Takes to Move ForwardWhat It Takes to Move Forward (2009)
Count Your Lucky Stars

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The debut full-length from Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) retains hallmarks of the band's 2008 7", Year of the Rabbit, while adding a few necessary refinements. Basically, if you want slightly noodly and extremely earnest '90s emo seemingly built around the styles of Mineral and the Get Up .
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The debut full-length from Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) retains hallmarks of the band's 2008 7", Year of the Rabbit, while adding a few necessary refinements. Basically, if you want slightly noodly and extremely earnest '90s emo seemingly built around the styles of Mineral and the Get Up Kids' "A New Found Interest in Massachusetts," albeit in a form as long-winded as one might guess by the band name, What It Takes to Move Forward will grant you just that.

Multi-instrument-wielding frontman Keith Latinen's voice cracked and croaked through some verses on Year of the Rabbit and it was a rawness that was less endearing and more just embarrassing. He's seemed to realize that vocal sincerity has its limits and has toned it down for the vast majority of this nearly hour-long album. And even when he lets loose with higher-pitched, sappy wailing ("Keep What You Have Built Up Here"), it doesn't bleed through the tune as much as it used to. Still, if anyone could provide some apt coaching, it's Look Mexico's Matt Agrella, as himself and his smoother, counterparting guest appearance just steals the spotlight in closer "An Idea Is a Greater Monument Than a Cathedral" (this is ironic being that a certain someone steals Agrella's spotlight on a song off LM's own upcoming LP).

Most of the time, Latinen's voice is reserved and meandering along with the typically personified yearning of his bandmates' buildups. As distressed and depressed as he might be through What It Takes' course, he and the rest of his band exude an incredible, indelible patience. "What Safe Means" is infused with careful strides, deliberate pauses and a slow, melodic payoff followed by a familiar set of tender, intertwining chords. "With Your Greatest Fears Realized, You Will Not Be Comforted" is an interesting standout, with Latinen going solo and adding well-integrated layers of banjo, cello, trumpet and sleigh bells while delivering another strong emotional indictment ("You wore a hand-me-down dress that never fit quite right. / Your mother's frame did not favor you.").

While What It Takes to Move Forward is as thoughtful and calculated as one might hope a band would be for their first proper LP, it's almost too so; the album could probably use a more diverse palette of guitar tones and better, more effective explosives, too. Nonetheless, what's already here is a solid, flowing and pretty pleasing tribute to its forefathers.

STREAM
What Safe Means
Rally the Troops! Poke Holes in Their Defenses! Line Our Coffers with Their Coffins!
An Idea Is a Greater Monument Than a Cathedral

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
joshtalo (January 24, 2010)

Played with them last night. I almost fell asleep. Not impressive what so ever.

LieutenantRoastABotch (January 10, 2010)

Good band, great album, horrible band name.

I forgot to read the Onion's list of bad band names this last year. Actually, I forgot to read the Onion this last year.

the_other_scott (January 8, 2010)

did these guys make the onion's list of worst band names?

icapped2pac (January 6, 2010)

Good band, good album, and GREAT label.

usversusthem (January 5, 2010)

I agree, this is a 7.7 or 7.8. Made my top 25 of 2009. No real standouts to my mind but it's a really solid listen of an 'emo' album.

makeshifty (January 5, 2010)

They were sorta meh last night in Houston. But I'd never heard of them and they were having various technical difficulties.

kylewagoner (January 5, 2010)

I love the hell out of this album. It is so nice just to have on in the room. Unfortunately, when we played a show with them in a basement, the vocals were just very off...I was kind of disappointed because I really liked their songs on MySpace. I got this CD, though.

inspection12e (January 5, 2010)

I really like this band but Brian already knows that.

eatdogs (January 5, 2010)

i love this new album. a great debut lp and a showcase of honest talent.

danperrone (January 5, 2010)

pretty solid emo album. i thought it would stink, judging by their past work and how poor the singer was. brian's right...the vocals are improved, but so is the music. i give it a 7.

switcharoo (January 5, 2010)

such a stupid band name

wearestillalive (January 5, 2010)

I like this album a lot. I think it's better than a 7, but maybe not quite an 8. Definite 7.8, to go all Pitchfork with it.

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