The Philadelphia-based trio Empath have a pair of releases to their name so far — 2016’s Crystal Reality Vols. I and II — and tomorrow the band is putting out a new 16-minute tape called Liberating Guilt And Fear. It seems to get its name from a so-called ancient healing frequency that’s meant to rid you of those negative emotions, and Empath’s tape more than lives up to that namesake, offering up a blend of noise and fierce hooks that sounds cathartic and empowering. Between them, its three members — Emily Shanahan, Catherine Elicson, and Garrett Koloski — have been involved with All Dogs, Allison Crutchfield, and Perfect Pussy — and on Liberating Guilt And Fear they come off like a well-oiled machine, messy and chaotic by intention.
The first half of the tape is filled with blisteringly bright noise-pop, three songs that find the band careening from one towering melody to the next. Everything’s buried under a thick layer of distortion, but its pull is undeniable. On one of them, “The Eye,” the band bursts into an infectious and kinetic shout-along, propelled by frantic drumming and sugary-sweet keys. Empath switch gears on the back half of Liberating Guilt And Fear, its tight-laced structures giving way to an extended unraveling made up of twittering birdsong and feedback that feels both peacefully serene and like it could swallow you whole.
Listen to the whole tape below.
03/29 Baltimore, MD @ Joe Squared *
03/30 Washington, DC @ Catbus *
03/31 Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn *
04/01 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project *
* w/ Control Top