Recorded over a two year period, The Afterlife is due for release on December 22nd 2012, the day after the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, a date suggested by some as marking either the beginning of a physical or spiritual transformation, or the end of the world or a similar catastrophic event. Upon completing promotion of these new tracks, Emporium will cease to be after 15 years. The title of the album reflects this time of metamorphosis.
On listening to ”The Afterlife”, I’m not sure whether we are in the 60?s, 80?s, 90?s or the 2000?s. Emporium draw from an enormous bucket of influences. At times I hear The Walker Brothers or Paul Weller’s Style Council, then maybe Julian Cope’s The Teardrop Explodes or The Housemartins and even traces of The Beach Boys. It’s sixties, its Britpop, its post-punk, its mod, its new romantic…the only thing for sure is, its indie.
This is without a shadow of a doubt a fine album. Lyrically it holds its own, rich with feeling, and its upfront, self-confessional honesty, is inspiring and reaches elevated heights both artistically and emotionally. The songs are beautiful and the singing and harmonies on the album are superb.
Standouts are the album opener “The Afterlife”, the languid ballad “Bluebell Wood”, the track “Magical Things”, “Beautiful Insanity (Don’t Fit In)” and the piano-driven “The Umbrella Shop”.
Music, like all art, is a medium of communication and never has communication been more pure and enlightening than this. The lush, melodic sound of this album is so rich and entrenched that it seeps into the soul of the listener.
“The Afterlife“ which is a colourful collection of largely nostalgic sounding songs, in my opinion has many surprises, curious tangents as well as both soul and beauty in abundance. Tracks that re-treat older ground with a fresh new view. Like a lot of timeless music, it sounds deceptively simple at first but hides a musical complexity which gently unfolds as much as you, the listener, let’s it.
Emporium bring superlative mid-sixties pop, fast forward and straight into today. They migrate a mix of Burt Bacharach and Phil Spector sounding orchestrations into now, and throw in their swirling vocal harmonies to match.
“The Afterlife” is a different kind of album, unlike most you’re currently likely to hear, and through it, Emporium transport our musical nostalgia into the future.
The album The Afterlife is released December 22nd 2012 on Whimsical Records.
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