Empath

The Deli Philly’s June Record of the Month: Active Listening: Night on Earth - Empath

Active Listening: Night on Earth (Get Better Records), the debut full-length album from the quartet of Empath, immerses the listener in a chaotic, cathartic sonic world. The awakening sounds of birds chirping give way to Emily Shanahan and Randall Coon’s assertively warped combination of electro-bass and synth on album opener, “Soft Shape”. Catherine Elicson’s vocals hover between a restrained hushed tone and a more pronounced power. The instruments weave creating a complex yet streamlined sound, before Garrett Koloski’s drumming is unleashed, stepping to the forefront and bashing away towards the song’s conclusion.

Spring-loaded “Pure Intent” toys with tempo, constructing an exuberant, disorienting environment, with brief, calming, vocal moments of respite. Caught up in that whirlwind, everything becomes so hazy; however, after the storm, reassuring keys and softly strummed guitar conceive a serene backdrop, before the abrupt kick-start of “Hanging Out Of Cars,” with its jagged-guitar rev. Joined by bustling percussion and the contrasting, softer key tones, the track blends a rugged, uncompromising approach that is exuded in the blunt, raw force of the guitar-percussion combination. “Where I take you is where I take myself, an empty is left most I ever felt.” Halfway through, the traffic disappears, and the road opens up as a soothing, electro-reverberating clarity emerges.

“Roses That Cry” appears to mesh theories on learning to accept and deal with the present, (“They say everything aging all the time together/As the clutter comes alive, comes in bed, nowhere to hide/Don’t waste your time judging kindness/“We say hell is forever, and what is the cost? Is this it?”), while also expressing optimism and nostalgia (“Are you coming around?/You’d like to, but you don’t know how/Remember when that tree fell on your car”). There’s a sense of hopeful warmth and memory illuminating the song, amid the swirl of noise. A blitzing, brutal instrumental brightness hits on “Rowing”. There’s no slowing down, as the track races with compact precision, appearing ready to fall off the rails, while still maintaining a melodic connection. 

With “Heaven,” there is an impactful interlude into the psyche, as brief thoughts are delivered in a free-flowing manner. “I just want to get to heaven.” Clairvoyant, floating keys form an ethereal atmosphere throughout “IV,” as the rest of the instrumentation provides a more detailed texture. “Decor” marches fantastically forward in an inviting manner. The vocals retain a soft, assuring nature. “Deep down, nothing changes where you’ve been.” The LP returns to form with “Redeo Fever” surging ahead as Elicson sings: “Say a little prayer, the most that I could bear/All I have to glean is the experience.”

Empath’s latest collection of recordings exudes a thoughtful, noise-infused intensity – one that requests an intent ear and rewards the listener in the process. (Photo by Troy Memis) – Michael Colavita

   

New Empath Album Available for Streaming & Purchase

Active Listening: Night on Earth, the full-length debut from the quartet of Empath, is now available via Get Better Records. Merging shimmering melodies with stormy, noise-effected discord, the band finds a catchy, chaotic balance. Groundswells of rhythm are countered by ethereal synth as the contrast of feathery-ferocity grabs one’s focus with an intriguing intensity. Get lost in its unpredictability. (Photo by Troy Memis)

   

New Music Video: "Hanging Out of Cars" - Empath

Empath's Active Listening: Night on Earth is slated to arrive on May 3 via Get Better Records. Directed by Ali Donohue (Fleabite, Swanning, Waxahatchee), a new video has emerged for "Hanging Out of Cars”. Amphibians scatter across and traverse various vibrantly colored, craftily constructed, outdoor settings. The noisy, psych-tinged soundscapes are wonderfully enriched by the video's creatively intriguing landscapes.

   

New Music Video: "Soft Shape" - Empath

Active Listening: Night on Earth, the forthcoming album from Empath, is slated to arrive on April 2 via Get Better Records. The sounds of nature are quickly traded for the more immediate thump of bass as the album’s lead single, “Soft Shape,” comes into focus. Encircled by creepy dolls as synth eerily rings, there’s a creepy mesmerizing quality to the band's accompanying video. As though in a neon fog, a magnetizing, mysterious aesthetic unfolds, and as the instrumental ending suggests, it's part candy, part chaos. (Photo by Alysse Gafkjen)

   

New Track: "Only One" - Empath

Coming in hot on the heel’s of Empath’s album, Liberating Guilt and Fear, is their new 7” single, titled Environments. Styled in the vein of Irv Teibel’s Environments field recordings from the 1960s and 70s, Empath’s latest track softens the edges of their cleverly raucous repertoire. Each recording on the 7” is meant to represent wind or water; "Only One" takes on the latter, beginning in familiar, playfully punk territory, before opening up into blissful expanses of space as the song develops. The track's creation of and care for space parallels the mission of their label, Get Better Records, which provides a safe space for Philly’s queer community, becoming an important bastion for underrepresented creatives by giving an early platform to diverse bands such as HIRS, Thin Lips, and Cayetana. (Photo by Matt Allen) - Josh Kelly