The Empty

More Positive Material

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More Positive Material is one of those debut albums that at times sounds like a compilation, so varied are this young band's influences. So the lengthy opener, "Drawing a Blank and Framing It," sounds like yet another group taking its cues from jumpy early-'80s new wavers, and then "Collision Magnet" goes for the usual layers of distorted guitars and whiny emo vocals, the acoustic-guitar-and-whispers "Skeleton Keys" recalls the quieter side of the Shins, and "Diaspora Déjà Vu" explores the wide-open sonic spaces of minimalist post-rock. It's hard to get a peg on just what this Portland-based band's "true" sound is as a result, but More Positive Material is a fairly engrossing listen overall, and the best songs are encouraging hints that the Empty have greater potential within them.

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