With little concern for budget (or lack of) or the fact that some of the songs on this highly anticipated debut effort are just polished up ‘first demos,’ Emperor the Stag, confidently kick off 2014 with ‘Fantasy to Bleak’. A four piece guitar band from Eastbourne, East Sussex (of all places) who could happily stand on the side of any high speed scene, much like The Cure did. Who some say are their vocal West Sussex counterparts.
If anything Fantasy to Bleak demonstrates Emperor’s solution to the long lost melody. The one that isn’t cut/pasted and complicated. This isn’t computer music and Emperor have gained a good deal of praise for that.( Introduced by the BBC radio and praised by Brighton Source for their 2013 appearance.)
Opener Swan feels like a wet flannel during a boxing match, full of conflict but enough self-belief to carry through to the next 3 songs. The first being Leaves (the single) a catchy little ditty that runs with optimism only to crash into a glimmer of belief surrounding grey scepticism of Glue and Animals. At the end of this back and forth, non-stop conflict (there is deliberately little time or space between any of the tracks) the ref counts to 10 and the band transforms into something more submissive with ‘Blushing Bride,’ a song written and recorded in 3 hours. Speirs and Webb’s finest moment.
The love child of Death Cab for Cutie and Doves say bloggers but this is a match only suitable for the less specific online dating sites. When in full limbo, Emperor write and sing songs that could be festival sing-alongs on either side of the pond. And at the moment that is all they care about.
Fantasy to Bleak is available in all reputable digital download stores on February 3rd.