Review by Shannon Shumaker
There are just some songs, some albums, that make you want to drive down the highway with your windows down, wind whipping through your hair, without a care in the world. In fact, I currently have a playlist of those kinds of songs and albums ready to go in case of a spur of the moment road trip, and New Empire’s new full-length, In A Breath definitely needs to be added to that list of albums.
Seconds into the first track, “Tale of Jonah”, Jeremy Fowler’s vocals pull you right in, captivating and clear. In fact, it’s a fresh way to start the album; with just vocals and no other instruments for the fist few beats. It grabs your attention and the song immediately begins to take you on a journey.
In fact, listening to the entire album is like a journey. After the upbeat and progressive “Tale of Jonah”, the album swings you right into another great song. “Relight the Fire” is one of the many songs that really shines on this album, so much in fact, that the band also recorded and included an acoustic version of the song. And as if the song wasn’t already beautiful and inspiring enough, the acoustic version adds even more, putting a soft and simple new spin on the track. In fact, the first time I listened to the album all the way through, I thought it was a completely different song, and I mean that in the best way possible. In A Breath honestly just seems to get better and better with every single song, really hitting its peak with the band’s single “Say It Like You Mean It”. The song itself is not only explosive, but the writing, production and vocals are flawless. It’s with good reason why the band chose it as their single.
Another thing that really makes this album a stand-out is the fact that it’s so unique. While fans of The Fray, One Republic or Augustana would more than likely love In A Breath, it’s hard to compare this album to any other new releases in its genre. It’s refreshing to be able to listen to an album without trying to compare the band to other artists, and New Empire definitely accomplishes that with In A Breath. Instead of trying to decide what other bands they sound like, I was able to just sit back and enjoy this great album.
There are very few songs, artists or albums that I can listen to, close my eyes and be transported to a different place or state of mind, but New Empire’s In A Breath is, without a doubt, one of those albums. Every single track is uplifting and captivating, with wonderful songwriting, lyrics and vocals, and it’s definitely an album that I’ll be keeping in my car for long summer drives this year.
Listen to: "Say It Like You Mean It"
And be sure to check out our interview with the band in our upcoming issue, coming out on May 15th!