Published Sep 02, 2015Radio rock seems to transform into something new every couple of years; the old Snow Patrol-esque guitar focused pop rock of the early 2000s has morphed to the epic arena rock of Imagine Dragons, with all its digitized sounds and massive group choruses.
On new album The Gates, Young Empires make a similar transition, from that of a band with a sound rooted in guitar rock, to a newer, shinier digital aesthetic. For the most part, they've made a good album; the problem is that it sounds like every other radio rock record out there today.
All the signposts of a modern pop rock record are there — the uplifting vocals, the huge drum sound and the layers of electronic sound on everything — but what Young Empires lack is a feeling of urgency or focus to their music. What makes them special? Who are they as a band? In lieu of answers, Young Empires' music stays too close to formula, leaving The Gates rather repetitive and bland. (Pirates Blend)