There is a certain amount of difficulty that comes with writing about the emo genre, especially when the genre has become so diversified and has divided into several different scenes, with each scene having a different style of music. I’d need an entire article to delve into those scenes and this is not the place for that. Instead I would rather dwell on Dashboard Confessional for a moment. They were the in thing in the emo scene during the mid-to-late 2000s. It was during a time when the emo scene was divided between heartfelt acoustic bands with a rock edge and heavier post-hardcore bands that weren’t heavy enough to be accepted by the post-hardcore community at the time. These were the bands that permutated the genre of screamo – much to the annoyance of most music fans.
Dashboard Confessional’s particular style of music declined with the onset of a new decade, until recently. Since the onset of 2014, there has been an enormous revival of the acoustic emo genre with the likes of Front Porch Step and This Wild Life releasing albums to much critical acclaim. A more specific example is Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)’s You Will Eventually Be Forgotten. This is the husband and wife duo’s second album, coming after their debut album, which was released on at rear-end of the emo wave.
Now Keith and Cathy Latinen are at the fore-front of what is now being labelled as the “Emo Revival.” It is a genre that strips the emo genre back down to its original heartfelt form where the focus is more on the lyrics and the music than on appealing to hordes of teenage fan-girls who write disturbing fan-fictions about the band members. Empire! Empire! embodies this stripped down ethos perfectly, as hazy electric guitar riffs snake themselves around acoustic guitar chords and mournful drumming accompanies their piercing vocal harmonies.
The beauty of Empire! Empire! is their minimalistic simplicity. It creates an atmosphere of severe beauty in which they are able to successfully deliver their delicately crafted and introspective narratives. The entire album acts like a reflection on the lives they lived and specific events that both Cathy and Keith have gone through. It is not a narrative that I wish to spoil though, thus I shall not divulge details regarding it. What I shall mention is that it will leave you feeling incredibly moved and very much alive. It is the type of narrative that leaves you quite aware of your own tragic mortality.
Empire! Empire! has successfully helped to reassure me that the emo genre is not one that is destined to descend into a mainstream string of angsty pop punk acts that barely deliver a minimum amount of emotion through their music yet insist on being labelled as “emo.” They re-enter the scene with a beautiful gift, made up of beautiful guitar melodies, delicately crafted lyrics and divinely beautiful vocal harmonies. Emo is not dead, my friends.
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