A couple years ago Empires made it to the final four in a contest Rolling Stone held for fans to decide which local rock band should grace their cover. Normally that kind of thing would totally turn me off to a band (though much respect to them for having a loyal fan base) and I wouldn’t bother paying any attention. But, they were from Chicago so I figured I should at least take a listen to their album Garage Hymns. And it’s a good thing I did, because a couple of the songs on that record are good enough to make me angry they weren’t written earlier in my life so I had more time to enjoy them.
Now the band is back with a new EP called How Good Does It Feel, and rather than just a continuation of their previous work they take the music in a whole new direction. Equal parts mid-career U2 and early 90’s Brit rock mixed with some electronic flourishes, they’ve made a record that feels very new but familiar at the same time.