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New Music: Empathy Test
September 9, 2016
Some of you out there might already be aware of the London duo known as Empathy Test, an electronic group that draw heavily on the influence of the sci-fi aesthetic in their style (the band’s name is a reference to the machine used in Blade Runner to determine android from human). For those that don’t, if the above ticks your boxes then you should add this band to your playlists.
You could argue there is never been a better time to introduce yourself to them what with their new track, Seeing Stars, released today. Having already put out two EPs since their formation in 2013, the twosome have been nothing if not productive in that time with new material coming out in the past couple of months as a premonition to a debut album that is still in the works.
Outside of the studio, they are already being hailed as an engrossing live act and have been hard at it on the road with an extensive number of appearances at festivals across Europe; in addition, they are due to commence a European tour of their own later this year. Dates include trips to Zurich and an all-encompassing roam across Germany before winding down at The Garage in London on 2nd of October.
As for the single itself, Seeing Stars gives an understanding as to why these guys are constantly linked with a gritty coldwave characteristic. Ominous synths from producer Adam Relf combine with vocalist Isaac Howlett’s recurrent tales of struggle, sometimes alone and sometimes with one who clearly carries an importance. For those who prefer synth-noir to the reality of conventional music, Empathy Test are a pair that will win new followers, but they have a wider appeal in the same mould as the likes of Desire in that they evoke the timeless suaveness of the ‘80s without sacrificing a contemporary edge.
Previous record Demons is already proving to be a fan favourite at their live performances, and those who are able to do so should make a point of seeing this band before they leave British shores – they have a small string of gigs in London, Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow before they depart for mainland Europe on the 20th of September.
Understandably the group are now starting to make impressions where it counts; they have recently featured across a number of Hype Machine blogs and received coverage from BBC Introducing. While there is no confirmed release date for the debut LP, the two songs that are floating around at the moment show that Empathy Test are headed in an exciting direction, not only in terms of their own success but also in terms of adding a new element to the darkwave scene.
Words by Sion Ford