Active Listening: Night On Earth is exactly what you want from a debut album: energetic and free-wheeling, Empath play like they’ve got something to prove. The band got its start back in 2016 with a handful of home-recorded songs with monster hooks blearing through a heavy bed of noise. The formula hasn’t changed much in the time since then, but the Philadelphia-based band has just gotten better and better. Last year saw the release of Liberating Guilt And Fear and a 7″, and now they’re putting out their debut album, and the results are refined and invigorating.
The noise is impressive, but what’s even better is how they balance out the moments of pure disassociate bliss with more meditative fare. For most every ramped-up freakout, there’s an accompanying comedown filled with bleeps and bloops and nature sounds — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Active Listening zips between these two poles: hard and soft, dark and light, heavy and sparse. It’s sort of zen in that way, a meditation that allows for self-reflection
It’s also just a whole lot of fun — Catherine Elicson’s vocals clip at the margin, shouts into the void, but the phrases that are discernible amidst the chaos are made for singing along to. “Everything becomes so hazy, baby,” “Who knew that would be so terrifying?,” “Nothing changes where you fit.” The band turns moments of existential dread into unbearable light.
Listen to it below.
Active Listening: Night On Earth is out now via Get Better Records.