Empire of Lights - Chasing Stardust
Empire of Lights are a band from Llandrindod Wells, Wales. They consist of members John Aziz (Vocals/Guitar/Programming), Eifion Davies (Drums) and Simon Eversfield (Bass/Keyboards/Vocals). As we’ll soon find out, for such few members, they create a big, big sound with their latest release “Chasing Stardust”. Let the journey begin...
The intro of the song slowly fades in with luscious atmospheric synth chords, overlaid with the swelling of crash cymbals and NASA mission-control voice samples. Judicious sprinkling of space-echo over these elements completes the exploratory theme of outer space. It’s all building up nicely but after one minute I’m still wondering in what direction this epic adventure may take us… this is why I prefer to listen to demo tapes before reading about a band, it keeps the sense of mystery alive!
A hint of the genre this tune may fall into first appears in the guise of some bluesy lead guitar glistening over the synth chords, reminiscent of the intro guitar from ‘Breaking into Heaven’ by the Stone Roses (with a similarly long intro too). From here, things start to ramp up suddenly, with a strong pumping bass line over a four to the floor kick drum. This brings things into sharp focus and we launch into the song with the lead vocalist screaming “We’re Chasing Stardust” from the upper registers of the human voice, almost Led Zep style. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have lift-off!
After a long intro, starting with the chorus makes real sense, it captures your attention that might otherwise have dwindled by this point. The chord sequence of straight stabbing chords placed around the vocals reminds me a little of Paul Weller’s iconic Stanley Road rhythm sound. The verse ensues with a softer version of the same chord sequence (why change it, if it ain’t broke?), and a lower more laid back vocal sings about the vast open tundra of space, the universe and beyond. The lines of the verse are interspersed with neat little lead guitar licks, keeping it fresh and smoothly moving along. The verses are longer than the chorus, which also provides an interesting contrast.
After a second verse, we glide through another chorus, and before things get too predictable, we fly off into the great unknown with an ambitious and accomplished guitar solo. We're sublimely drawn back in by a broken-down variant of the chorus, creating a nice segue for one last chorus. Here we find ourselves returning to Earth’s orbit with a long dreamy outro, in a similar vein to the intro, a nice reminder of how things started. It's like we've been under a musical hypnotic spell, and we're slowly resurfacing to full consciousness.
I found this song to be a real grower, I’d be surprised if you’re not hooked after a few listens too. After each listen I found myself wondering where the last five minutes went, which is definitely a good sign. Hopefully, for Empire of Lights, this is a space launch to a burgeoning musical adventure!