The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Adore//Repel – ‘Empty Orchestra’ (Shoveitupyourcult Records)

  • 5/10
    - 5/10


Adore//Repel’s debut album ‘Empty Orchestra’ hints a lot but delivers disappointingly little. One for the future.

The debut album is the most important record an artist can make; here is the perfect opportunity to set out a mantra for the project. Whether it be the game-changing indie revivalism of Is This It, the gloriously ambitious Funeral or the wonderfully bold Horses, there are countless examples of debut albums changing the music industry. However, for every classic debut, there are thousands of forgotten or flawed debuts. Unfortunately for Adore//Repel on Empty Orchestra they have fallen into the latter category – but then again, so did many other debuts by bands who went on to achieve great things.

That’s not to say Empty Orchestra is bad, as there are a number of very good moments on the record. Whether it be the wandering ‘Sticks In The Crow’, a track which grows in aggression throughout, or the brooding ‘Secret Road, Part II’ – a track which combines post-rock-styled melodies with Django Django’s jagged guitar. Elsewhere, there is the wonderful ‘//’, a track which glides and dances throughout with Horrors-esque shuffling percussion and guitars, and it’s a poignant midway point that breaks up the record well. Another highlight is ‘Orca’ is a delicate instrumental which ushers in the closing stages of the LP delightfully.

However there are too many forgettable moments during Empty Orchestra. The opening ‘Intro’ and ‘Months Ago’ blend into one seamlessly but do little to grab the attention of the listener; guitars simmer and hint at more without delivering. That’s the dynamic for much of the record – a lot of instrumentals without much substance. Closing title-track ‘Empty Orchestra’ sounds too similar to what has preceded and while the shoegaze-meets-post-rock sound is an interesting one, there are times it lacks substance.

READ MORE: Adore//Repel’s album launch party @ The 360 Club, Leeds

Empty Orchestra makes Adore//Repel’s mantra obvious in that they want to craft melodic pieces hard-rock in a similar style to the likes of American Football or My Bloody Valentine. However, too often on the record the album does indeed feel a bit empty – there is the start of a good idea here, but Adore//Repel aren’t the finished article yet. (5/10) (John Tindale)

Listen to Empty Orchestra here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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