Empire State Human – Romo (CD Album – ScentAir Records)
Background/Info: Irish synth-pop formation Empire State Human was set up in 1999 and driven by Aidan Casserly. “Romo” released in 2017 is the first new opus of the band since 2009. In the past years we discovered a few other projects featuring Aidan Casserly; he released together with Kriistal Ann the “Muse”-album (2015) and more recently joined hands with ex-Armageddon Dildos member Dirk Krause on the Ferrochrome project. You maybe also remember him from The Garland Cult he set up together with Empire State Human founding member Lar Kiernan.
Content: It’s not that useful talking first about the Casserly’s very unique timbre of voice, which is easy recognizable. It’s a particular experience, somewhat androgenic, but very recognizable. It also is the right singer to get involved with electro-pop music. The music is quiet vintage-like revealing solid bass lines and fine, precious bleeps.
+ + + : The vocals remain one of the main characteristics and strengths of this project. It’s the kind of ‘voice’ you are either going to like or not; there’s no way in between, but one thing is for sure, the vocals are making the specificity of this band. The music is well-crafted and I especially like the delicate bleeps, and especially the good-old analogue sound construction, which remains something apart and definitely magic-like! “Future Sex” is the absolute highlight of the work.
– – – : The main strength of an album often is the weakest point for other music lovers. Even if I recognize the talent of Aidan Casserly as a singer I never have been a huge fan of his so unique timbre of voice. I would like to love his voice, but as I said, there’s no real way in between: you like it or not. It often starts to bore me after a while and it’s not that different on this work.
Conclusion: Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because the timbre of voice doesn’t fit with my personal taste and expectations that this is not a good album. Not at all, “Romo” is a well-crafted opus revealing impressive analogue sound treatments.
Best songs: “Future Sex”, “Nomophobia”.
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