Sea Change

CD Cover The Emptys
Transsiberian Music Company

Review by Darren Gawle

I've been working on this review for two weeks, now, and in two weeks I haven't been able to come up with a clever spin, an ultimate hook or anything to dress up my take on Sea Change, so I'll just come right out and say it: this a very wonderful album indeed, and the Emptys should take a justifiable amount of pride in putting their names to it.

"Sea Change" is about the best choice for a first track: all fog, whale noises and possibilities, with James-style vocals over lazy Neil Young strumming, it invites you to explore further. "Hero's Bullet" is a delicate, hazy journey into Rheostatics territory with some excellent guitar (the liner notes don't list exactly who's responsible for the great guitar work that embellishes the album, or I would give credit where credit's due). Acoustic slide pops up in the middle of an electrified "Sweetie," while "Half Cut" features a claustrophobic acoustic guitar made doubly uncomfortable by the addition of wind and traffic sound-effects.

"Hockey Heads" features the soon-to-be classic line "Kids these days, they have no shame / In my day we all looked the same." "Sweet Pea" re-visits the wonder of your first garage band, when you had stars in your eyes, planning your acoustic third album before you'd even played your first show. The album ends with "Take Me to the Sea," a bittersweet taste of approaching maturity which contrasts sharply with "Sweet Pea," only two tracks previous.

Sea Change, like any good album, feels like the Emptys are taking you on a voyage around themselves. It's a trip you really should let them take you on.

Artist Contact Info: P.O. Box 144, 1472 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, B.C., V5L 3X9

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 25, 1998

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