The San Francisco quartet Empty Rooms first came to my attention in late 2005 with an excellent EP which called to mind some great cult acts such as Breathless and Bauhaus. Two and a half years on, ‘Lacuna’ shows that we still have a group out of time but they’re all the better for it, as they’ve produced another classy EP.
The haunting ‘All’s Well’ is ushered in with drums straight out of the Comsat Angels’ school of post-punk; whilst ghostly vocals complete a downbeat but mesmerising opening. ‘Off With His Head’ is delivered at a quicker pace, with a noticeably brighter mood and epic sound as the chorus kicks in. Then they momentarily lose their edge with a fairly pedestrian instrumental called ‘Twenty’, before recovering for the highlight ‘We’ve Been Waiting For You’. Here the guitars ring out over ferocious percussion whilst the vocals delightfully resemble China Crisis rather than the usual predictable post-punk references. I can boldly state that – along with the likes of Bell Hollow and For Against – Empty Rooms are a group who represent all that is good about a 1980’s glum rock revival.
The Comsat Angels, Bell Hollow