Empty Flowers Five

Empty FlowersFive
Empty Flowers are counting down as surely as they are steadily marching forward. Last year's clamorous, noisy rock effort, Six, blasted the largest boulders out of their way with the joyful destructiveness of sticks of dynamite. Their latest full-length, Five, is no less powerful, but is suited to more delicate work; it's powerful enough to clear debris, but still capable of precision and refinement. There's a noticeable pop influence to the songwriting, which has leant the tracks increased hooks and memorable choruses without forcing Empty Flowers to sacrifice any of their innate coarseness. The guitar tone is still thick and gravelly, the bass an insistent throb and the drums capable of punishment. "Trained Not To Worry" is as heavy as anything on Six, while "The Water" displays their newer, more refined musical palate. "Quit" is a genuinely gutting, rare piece of emotional authenticity, while "Lousey Phil" is something special — infectious and irresistible. While there's certainly some fat — a track or two weighing the record down and keeping it from championship fighting shape — Five has a ton of sweet sucker punches up its sleeve. (The Path Less Traveled)