Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), Joie de Vivre, Free Throw | Township | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), Joie de Vivre, Free Throw 

When: Sat., Sept. 27, 6 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
Five years ago, Count Your Lucky Stars label founder Keith Latinen released What It Takes to Move Forward, the debut album by his Michigan emo band, Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), and its intimate but hugely cathartic songs became foundational for the burgeoning fourth-wave scene. Since then Latinen has moved away from the impressionistic lyrics of Move Forward, gravitating over the course of nearly a dozen EPs and split seven-inches toward a more direct and detailed writing style—a style that seems to have reached full flower on the recent sophomore full-length from Empire! Empire!, You Will Eventually Be Forgotten (Topshelf/Count Your Lucky Stars). It’s the kind of album Mineral superfans wish their favorite band would come back and make, with pitter-pattering passages feeding into powerful guitar-fueled surges; it’ll feel comfortably familiar to anyone who’s spent days scouring Last.fm for obscure emo bands, though it’s also distinctive, thanks largely to Latinen’s piercing high-pitched singing, midwestern wholesomeness, and autobiographical writing. He gets so specific with his lyrics that they can read like logbook entries, and his earnest singing combines with the band’s finely calibrated sense of drama to make even the most mundane details sound significant—“A Keepsake” brings perfectly to life the outsize excitement of a little kid about to go on his first canoe trip. —Leor Galil


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