Empty Pools are to release their new single Exploded View on Monday 26 August. They are also releasing their debut album Saturn Reruns on November 4 2013.
Empty Pools’ Exploded View is a fantastic five minute plus track showcasing wonderfully soft yet powerful vocals and brilliant guitar riffs and melodies. The music structure and composition of Exploded View really do pay homage to Tubelord whose sound can be described as organised chaos, especially on the harmonies.
Having dropped out of university, window-shopped at a furniture store while spending “a hundred summers” on someone else’s couch flipping through the old TV repeats, 23-year-old singer/guitarist Leah writes with surprising cryptically honest lyrics that sum up a short lifetime’s worth of experiences. Saturn Reruns is Empty Pools’ debut album and it’s an album as equally influenced by the poetic slackerdom of Stephen Malkmus and David Berman as the defiance of Patti Smith, Taylor Swift and Ian MacKaye.
After bonding as members of John Parish’s band at the turn of the millennium, drummer Aaron and guitarist Ben (who originally met playing in ever-rotating Bristol mainstays Soeza) drifted apart from those bands and each other five or so years ago. After stints in other groups that would inevitably finish an album or book a tour only for half its members to quit, they reconnected in summer 2011 and posted a classified ad seeking a singer and bassist for a potential band. They simply listed The Sea and Cake, Cass McCombs, Pylon, TV on the Radio, Marnie Stern, Talking Heads, Helium, Gang Gang Dance and Karate to attract kindred spirits.
Bassist Matt was the first to make it through auditions, turning up with crumbling rented equipment and a repertoire of indelible funk and soul bass lines by the likes of The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Leah’s first audition wasn’t such a gut-punch: her vocal performance was so quiet that Aaron and Ben, curiosity piqued, had to invite her back for a second round. There, she threatened the pair with a Bryan Adams cover, but won them over by performing songs by St. Vincent and Cymbals Eat Guitars and the lyrics for what would become the band’s debut single, 2012’s Safety School.
At first, all they had in common was their hometown: all of Empty Pools are based in Southville, South Bristol, home to the city’s immediately identifiable brightly painted houses. “The graveyard of ambition,” as Ben, who abandoned his art school aspirations in favour of music, puts it. Still, it was better than where they had each come from: Matt from Nailsea (“no coincidence that spell-check corrects it to ‘nausea’,” he says) via a long stint as a youth worker in Stockton, a grim Teesside town home to the titular record shop of excellent documentary Sound It Out; Leah from Basingstoke (via The Hague), Aaron from Hungerford and Ben from Yeovil (where John Parish taught him at college).
Quickly, however, Ben’s gnarled guitar parts tangled around Leah’s lyrics taken from notebooks kept since age 15, detailing loss, stagnation and clean breaks. Empty Pools’ 10 finest songs to date make up Saturn Reruns which asks; can you discover an unshakable core self within that will be the basis for a lifetime of growth? At the very least, it’s a defiant clawed fist punched upward through the soil in that graveyard of ambition.
Empty Pools self-released two singles in 2012, followed by two 7″s on Battle Worldwide Recordings (Frenchkiss Label Group), Safety School (2012) and Small Talk (2013). The band have played shows with Menomena, Destroyer, Sharon Van Etten, White Denim, Other Lives, Memoryhouse and Tom Tom Club.
Exploded View will be available from August 26. Empty Pools debut album Saturn Reruns will be available to buy from November 4.