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End Begin – Empire Fools – Album Review

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End Begin
Empire Fools
Release Date: Out Now
Review by Salla Harjula

It’s not impossible for a debut album to be marvellous. Even a self produced and published one. It’s been known to happen. Not for these Leeds prog rockers, though.

And the self applied prog rock tag in itself is debatable here. Just because your songs occasionally reach the ten minute mark and don’t perpetually go in 4/4, it doesn’t automatically make your music progressive. There are things such as composing chops, arrangement skills and performances to take into account. And if your song does roll by the ten minute point, make sure there is a reason for it.

It’s telling that this debut is also produced by the band itself. Guys. A producer is there to be the cold bastard who tells you to shave off the shit that you need to shave off, and occasionally take your original ideas to a direction they need to go. But particularly on a debut, chiefly the merciless cutting out thing.

It hasn’t happened here.

Honestly – and this coming from the geekiest of prog nerds – this foursome might actually work better with simpler structures and more compact songs. There are some hooks and an understanding of melody and fairly tasteful guitar work here. But for what the band professes to be, a prog rock group, the musicianship or songwriting just aren’t quite up to par with their obvious ambitions. Not at this point at least.

Strangely enough, you are introduced to the album with the most amateurish sounding stuff, too. The opening track ‘Tey’sha’ especially seems like an unfortunate choice. Once you get past the first few tracks – if you do – it does get better. Starting from ‘Numbers’ there are actual piquant bits sprinkled in the mix. But it’s an inescapable fact that this is a debut album and sounds like one.

At the risk of damning with faint praise, I will say the album isn’t bad as such. It’s okay. But ‘reasonably adequate’ isn’t the outcome a band claiming to be progressive should be aiming for.


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