The Young Empires’ debut EP, Wake All My Youth, celebrates the exuberance of youth with a dance-pop flair that affirms these Toronto lads’ faith in the power of the beat.
Guitars shimmer, beats pulsate, and Euro-house synthesizers glide through the mix. All of it grooves; none of it falters by the trio’s ambitions. After all, it is the forebearer of its own genre, haute rock, which singer Matthew Vlahovich explains is the “sound of a cosmopolitan experience.”
It’s really a sound that resonates from the clubs of Europe to the fashion runways of Paris. It’s not a soundtrack of the privileged; it’s fit for consumption on all levels. It’s carefree and beguiling stuff from a band whose members approach 30.
Most of the songs on Wake All My Youth are familiar to Canadian fans, as the original has circulated in the Great White North for a few years. On this second go-round, the band expands its compositions with a heavy dollop of synthesizers for a cleaner pop sheen.
Big choruses rule the roost, however, as these Canucks display the sensibilities forged by their forefathers like New Order and Violator-era Depeche Mode. The songs are wrapped up in the band’s romantic investment in the vitality of youth and the sense of optimism afforded to those less jaded souls.
On the opener, “Rain of Gold,” a distant flute ushers in a flood of African percussion and synth before the track mutates to an anthem of sorts for Vlahovich, who calls out: “Echo, echo/when you call my heart/when you call my love/when you call my youth.”
Drummer Taylor Hill packs a percussive wallop on the new EP, enhancing the melodies of his band mates in the rapid boil of “Enter Through the Sun” and the urgency of “We Don’t Sleep Tonight.”
The middle track, “Beaches,” is like a soundtrack to a Caribbean sunset as it drips with lustful intentions before a rush of guitars and percussion breaks free. The band invokes some Pet Shop Boys-esque synth-pop on the reflective “Earth Plates Are Shifting.”
This may be nitpicking, but sometimes the band tinkers and noodles with the knobs of the mixing board a bit too much. The two remixed tracks that close the collection lean toward self-indulgence. On the new release, the synthesizers step forward on “White Doves,” slightly varying the bristling guitar and crackling beats that make the original such a joy.
Still, when Vlahovich implores, “In the sun, when you’re young/you find a way back home,” he’s making it clear the band’s home is on the dance floor and that all are invited to join him.
Young Empires – Wake All My Youth (Worldwide Release) Tracklist:
- “Rain Of Gold”
- “Enter Through The Sun”
- “White Doves”
- “We Don’t Sleep Tonight”
- “Earth Plates Are Shifting”
- “White Doves (Natural Animal Remix)”
- “We Don’t Sleep Tonight (ColeCo Remix)”