Ahh the late nineteen sixties and early seventies, the time when everything changed in music. The heroes of the British mod movement tired of their snapppy suits, let their hair down and set the bar for new era in music and rock. The beatles likewise grew their hair and explored eastern philosophy and music in more depth, Pink Floyd - after being at the heart of the London psychodelic movement, lost Sid Barret and set sail on a musical journey that was to define 'progressive rock' with a saucer full of secrets that overflowed and eventualy poured out the likes of Meddle and Dark Side Of The Moon and suddenly music seemed to develope a purpose, conscience and direction. Dylan had warned the world that 'times were changing' for years while the Rolling Stones -as allways- just 'Let It Bleed'.Page mastered a new style of 'mastering' while Irish minds of the likes of BP Fallon shook their shakers and helped to steer nearly all of Britains Icons into a whole lotta new musical love.
That time and that era may well have gone but the excitement and musical creativity of the pre digital music world still stands as the most influencial period of music to the vast majority of the worlds musicians...and those themes, styles and same creative spirit - wether consciously or unconsciously- pour out of the speakers of nearly every new band to emerge. If you explore MySpace you'll find that Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Dylan appear on nearly every rock, acoustic or independant bands list of influences...that small window in musical history has dominated the world and triggered the creativity of millions and Friday sees everything that was spontanious, fresh and creative about that period embodied and re echoed in the debut album of Irelands new rising giants O Emporer.
The band from Waterford on Irelands south coast first sent shock waves through the music world as schoolboys in a student band when they entered the national student band competition under the name of 'Saviors of Space' . Though their songs may not have seemed that impressive at the time their stage presance and delivery was so overpowering that the panel of ten professional judges from all sectors of the signed and independant industry unaminously voted for them at the competitions final...it was the only time that a band had ever won over the entire industry panel and the boys were all just 16. 2007 and 2008 saw the band dissappear into the wilds of West Cork where they rented a cottage together and spent a whole year devoted to writing and recording the songs that form the backbone of the debut album Hither Thither before re entering the world under the new identity of O Emporer...only this time not only was the bands professional stage presance just as iconic but so too were the new songs. Those echoes of greatness come in the form of a vocal delivery that echoes a young Pete Townsend with a tint of Paul McCartney , a keyboard/pianist and a bass player that shimmers with Supertramp, a drummer who resembles a very young Eamon Carr (of Horslips) in both style and appearance and a lead guitarist who can pour out the calming waters of Dave Gilmour and switch to raise the heartbeat faster than an injection of adrenalin in the aortic valve. Tracks that drift and dream, hover over a musical landscape bursting with smouldering peeks such as 'Po' and the Stones styled 'Some Small Matter' -peeks that slowly build into fiery eruptive explosions of pure sound while the 'Floydian calm of Meddle' oozes from tracks like December and Dylan seems to dance wildly through 'Don Quixote'.
Though Irish music fans become the first to touch and hold the new album tomorrow the whole world can hear the debut of the entire album in an O Emporer special on Roddie Cleere's WLR' Irish Music show ( Roddie was a co founder along with Philomena Lynnott of the Phil Lynott charity 'The Roisin Dubh Trust' and has been one of the nations strongest advocates of Independant Music over the last decade). The two hour special which will begin at 2pm PST time will also feature an in depth interview with O Emporer frontman Paul Savage as he talks Roddie through the inspirations and history of the songs on the album. As with Ham Sandwich in yesterdays article the band have already recieved a number of invites to tour and play in the States so expect the bands attentions to head Stateside as soon as their Irish tour finishes in November. To be among the first in America to hear the band and album that half of Europe has been talking about for the last year then tune in on Friday -after KCRW has made you suitably Ecclectic- and catch the entire special live online at 2pm here.
Below is the O Emporer classic 'One Horse Guy' filmed shortly after emerging from their cottage in the Cork Pavillion in 2008.