It’s been just about a year since I first heard of Empires. I was at the bus stop waiting to go to work, flipping through the pages of the Red Eye-a mostly useless, but sometimes entertaining offshoot of the Chicago Tribune. Inside was a story about a local Chicago band that had made it to the final four in Rolling Stone’s “Choose The Cover” contest. The Sheepdogs were the eventual winner of this contest, based on fan voting. I thought it was odd that I had never heard of Empires before, and somehow I never really heard about them after reading the article. It’s as though the band existed only in that moment and then disappeared. That wasn’t the case of course, they were just laying low trying to finish their new record that came out yesterday.
For whatever reason I never followed up on the Red Eye piece, so until a few days ago I really had no idea what Empires sounded like. As I was browsing through Bandcamp I came upon a single that they put out called “We Lost Magic.” I believe it was the first single for the new album, and I thought it was pretty tasty. It sounded like a mix of The Killers and Born In The USA-era Springsteen. The guitars remain pretty restrained and the vocal performance by Sean Van Vleet is really what sells the number. It has a familiar feel to it, which helps draw you in. The fact that it’s really catchy will bring you back over and over.