Review: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)/Football, Etc – Split 7 inch

Released: December 15, 2009

Label: Count Your Lucky Stars

After last year's What It Takes to Move Forward, Empire! Empire! certainly seems like they are the very pinnacle of emo creativity and execution, breathing new life into a genre currently choking on its co-opted mainstream success. With the genre's elder statesmen like Sunny Day Real Estate and Promise Ring defunct (aside from the occasional Sunny Day reunion), Empire! Empire! may, in fact, be the genre's best active band. This EP couples them with relative newcomers, Football, Etc, perhaps a daunting task for the latter band.

While Empire! Empire!'s contribution, "Documenting Thirty Days," might not take the bold musical chances that their last album took, it is still a solid bit of emo and it builds up to a pretty intense finish that is really worthy of its heart-on-its-sleeve lyrics.

On the flipside, Football, Etc seems unaffected by the expectations their EP-mates have raised for the entire package. They serve their indie up with decidedly less overt pop sheen on "Fightin' Phoenix," giving it a beautiful earthy life that eludes the formula. If this were an interim release between two solid albums, it would make me wonder why it hadn't been included on a full-length. As it stands, this is Football, Etc's first outing, making me wonder instead what else they have in store.

The 7" is limited to 1000 copies of randomly mixed colors. If the gray-ish swirl on my copy is an indicator, the colors came out really nice. The artwork has a great folk-art feel worthy of a vinyl release and that motif is continued through the included lyric sheet and record labels. Count Your Lucky Stars throws in a free download, so the package as a whole is fantastic.

Satriani: 7/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

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