I’m glad I get to hear Emporia in their proper form as a full band. Last year they dropped Acoustic, which as its name signifies contains songs performed acoustically. It was a stripped down effort that was accessible but with their EP Lighthouse the band breaks out the distorted electric guitars, pounding drums and a steady bass to bring an onslaught of energy we haven't yet heard from them before. The band is barely out of high school and seems to be off to a good start. Sure, the lead singer does in fact sound like he is about nineteen and the riffs aren't the most original ones you will hear this year but they are in a developmental stage.
The quality of the recording could still use some work but certainly it is not bad. Sometimes I noticed the guitars could have used a bit more meat and the vocal had a live sound they could have benefitted from a bit of processing. All in all the quality here was only a minor issue and didn't hold back the songs too much from being impactful.
They start the album with one of the best tracks entitled “Morning.” The lead guitar delivers a circular riff that will instantly grab your attention. It isn't too long before the band is plowing through power chords and vocals by Ben Barsocchini. Barsocchini’s lyrics revolve around love, lust and loss. He sings; “Since you said it was all too much I've been running circles in my head Dreams like these are never sweet I wake up from seeing you in my sleep.”
This song also shows the band flexing their muscles, as there is a wicked guitar solo and complex drumming. The highlight of the EP for me was “Scatterbrained,” which had a good combo of hardcore and old-fashioned grunge. The drums crash with sharp consistency as the guitars tread through a number of solid rock riffs. They close with “Escapist” in which they experiment with a couple of new sounds including what I believe was a backward sounding guitar.
The band is solid but they have some work ahead of them to be distinct act. This EP shows the band has talent that they can hopefully refine as their sound matures.
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