Album review: O Emporer – Vitreous

O Emporer - Vitreous

O Emporer - Vitreous - Credit: Archant

Inventive adventurers O Emporer carve new trade routes between alt-folk and psych-rock to make their own mark.

After sharing stages with Mumford & Sons and Villagers on the back of their debut, Irish outfit O Emporer’s studio follow-up finds a band let off the leash in creativity’s fields.

Based in psych-rock and alt-folk, Vitreous is a restless but rewarding listen.

There’s more than a hint of Grandaddy’s DIY feel with warm analogue synths and fuzzy guitars (particularly on Holy Fool’s chugging psych) while the punchy, strident Contact reveals a penchant for invigorating power.

Sunshine – and a pleasing, opiated disorientation – streams through Land Of The Living, and closer This Is It feels like a valedictory explosion of chemistry set fireworks.

Not to mention the warmly twee vocals, redolent of Tom Brosseau, on opener Grandmother Mountain, where an urban wretch craves the claustrophobic grime of his “gutbucket bedsit” life, a gentle piano lope building to superb psych-guitar outro.

Focus, solid musicianship and cogent songwriting ties up Vitreous’ gambolling sense of adventure, resulting in a potent, distinctive record.

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Rating: 4/5