Holy Roman Empire

Lost in Landscapes

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Listening to Holy Roman Empire's debut EP after hearing the far superior follow-up full-length The Longue Durée is rather like hearing the Arcade Fire's self-titled record after experiencing Funeral: in retrospect, most of what made the full-length so good is here to one degree or other, but there was clearly an enormous creative leap in between. Lost in Landscapes is competently executed post-hardcore from a bunch of Chicago scene stalwarts anchored by former Longdistancerunner singer Emily Schambra. "Topography," with its unexpected punk-funk bass riff and chiming dual guitars under Schambra's impassioned vocals, hints at the band's incipient strengths, but that's immediately followed by the utterly average indie rock thrum of "Ways to Save Our Lives." Better songwriting, a stronger producer, and a crucial decision to put Schambra's outstanding vocals front and center in the band's sound would fix all of this EP's errors, but overall, Lost in Landscapes is strictly for serious fans interested in Holy Roman Empire's growing pains.

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