When listening to Acoustic EP by Emporia I can’t help but wonder what it would sound like with electric instruments and drums. Given their influences – Karnivool, Coheed and Cambria, Foo Fighters, Tool, A Perfect Circle – one would expect Emporia to evoke a hardcore weight of progression music, hard to the heart and complex to the mind. With this album it’s stripped down to the essentials and still sings with passion, just understated. T
he project started with two high school friends from California that jammed constantly. They engrained their styles together and clicked well enough to attack the soundscapes of Half Moon Bay on their first album. A few months later in summer they decided to record again and produced their second album. It was met with much respect within and outside the group. That was when Emporia knew they were on to something.
Yet, in the grand scheme of things, the guys are just barely out of the gate as a band. They just added a couple more members, other friends from high school, and they’ve yet to perform live. All of this comes as a surprise, but beginnings take their time in some cases. To me, this album sounds like early Seattle grunge and post emo rolled into one. The songs themselves are reflections, both poetic and literal, on the hardships of life adjustments, specifically college life and the personal struggle that comes with it.
Personally, the album has strong moments but the vocals are very prominent considering the mix and lack of sound layers making it so focal that I got a little nit picky. The performance left a little to be desired. Having said that, the guitar work is top notch. The stand out track for me is “Morning.” It has powerful rhythm and very directed vocals, paired with husky counterpoint. The guitar lick has wide potential and really binds the song together. Again, I would love to hear this material put to distortion. I’ll wait for the plugged version to come. Hopefully.
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