Manchester England, Wet (often) Grey Northern you know all those stereotypes yet the birthplace of Joy Division and The Smiths as well as The Happy Mondays and The Cult the home of some pretty bloody good music diverse, creative and memorable. The latest you should be aware of happens to be the excellent The Empty Page, The band has been around for a while and the two protagonists were part of Obsessive Compulsive prior to that and that was many moons ago. Plying their trade out of Manchester England they peddle a gritty post-alternative sound leaning on the likes of Sonic Youth less the more pretentious edges and their souls are filled with good honest Mancurian perceptions for whats going on around them and in the wider world. The lyrics are personal yet for everyone, they draw you in and make you feel welcome and dress it up in some great songs. ‘Imploding’ looks and sounds like it’s been a labour of love and had to come out in exactly the shape and form they intended and to the best of their ability or not bother to release it at all. These songs are honest and brimming with confidence and putting so much heart and soul into a record has paid off. If only all records could sound this authentic and full of quality music.

Their unwavering belief in what they do is infectious and heartwarming but the bottom line is the music warrants such levels of self-belief. the Empty Page ‘Imploding’ Is a worthy contender and full of great songs. Enough of my waffling let the music begin and wash over me.

The album opens with the bright ‘Dry Ice’ with its thumping wholesome Bassline and steady beat, Kel sounds fantastic both on Bass and the vocal is superb coming on as if Polly Jane Harvey had been on a steady diet of Alt Rock and wanted to cut loose and record an expansive loud record. This is the perfect opener with so much going on sonically it fills your heart with love for music.

One of the first songs I heard off the record is the excellent attitude-heavy ‘Cock Of The Fifth Year’ with its fuzzed-out guitar and thumping rhythm section driving the song right to the pleasure part of your brain. There is so much going on in the song from the great lyrics dripping with attitude as Kel screams “Its A Sense OF Entitlement” Something a lot of us can associate with this song is a blast as it comes to a screeching halt it’s only a couple of songs in and already you can hear that The Empty PAge have stepped up to the mic and forged one hell of an impressive record.

They’ve really nailed that warm Bass and electronic drum sound on the opening of ‘Life Is A Wave’ a song that sounds so focused and well written it’s a sidestep from the previous two tracks and one that showcases Kels vocals.

Sure the band lean on what they clearly love (90s Alt Rock) but they sound modern and marry it so well with where they’re from and what’s influenced them to this point and what continues to influence them. ‘Medication Nation’ is thumping whilst the more ambient and moody ‘I’m A White Hot Blade (Witches Are Wicked)’ on the verse building to the chorus that’s got hints of old Radiohead in how it soars then drops. the band have clearly been paying attention to the music that has influenced them and washed it into their DNA rather than ape what might sound good.

Side two opens with ‘Gorge (Oh Well)’ an uptempo steady rocker whilst ‘Level Sedentary’ is an off-kilter slice of American Alt Rock with the electric guitar at odd with the spoken vocals all pulling in the same direction its caustic yet calming and charming a mighty fine departure. ‘Big Nasty Palpitations’ sounds so Manchester to my ears mashing up everything that poured out of the fine City in the last 40 years from the driving rhythm to the pulsating synth to the chiming big guitars coming at you from all directions.

‘Leaf Thin’ is a welcome more moody darker song with somewhat hushed vocals and well-positioned fuzzed-out string arrangments with a smart ear for the atmospheric break whilst the drums add drama.

I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of the album and the twisted pop of ‘What Happens Now’ closes the record in fine style. Man, what a fantastic album that really takes you on a journey.

I’m not surprised how damn good this album sounds as I’ve always liked what Kel and Giz have done over the years but I am impressed with the overall quality and ebb and flow of the album it is truly on another level to what they’ve produced previously and that’s credit to them for their ability to capture what’s been inside and pour it out onto this record and take their time to offer up the best album they could possibly give and boy have they delivered. Easily one of the finest albums I’ve heard all year no question this will be an end-of-year contender. Buy IT!

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Author: Dom Daley