SOUTHERN EMPIRE

(AUSTRALIA)

SOUTHERN EMPIRE

(2016)
LABEL:

GIANT ELECTRIC PEA

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Epic, Symphonic
"More rock than Unitopia, this new project by Sean Timms retains undeniable progressive qualities."
ABADDON (09.05.2016)  
4/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s) (1) Biography + (2)
Once upon a time in a faraway country there was a group of friends who loved music. The fairies seemed to have leaned into their cradle, for in five years they released three original albums under the pretty name of Unitopia, which made their mark in the small world of progressive music with a symphonic tendency. Alas, the ugly Discord was one day among them, and at the end of the year 2014, the band broke up. Mark Trueack, who left with most of the band, founded United Progressive Fraternity, and released an album ("Fall in Love With the World") at the end of 2014, while Sean Timms took longer to put together a project. March 2016 marks the birth of this new band called Southern Empire, composed of musicians less known than those of UPF. It should be noted that to this day, Mark and Sean both claim authorship of the compositions of 'Fall in Love...". The question remains: who holds the spirit of Unitopia the most?

One thing's for sure: with this eponymous album, and unlike UPF, Sean Timms didn't try to reproduce the Unitopia universe at all costs. The quartet that forms the backbone of the band sounds more rock than Timms' previous productions. Unitopia (and UPF) percussionist Tim Irrgang and Steve Unruh on violin (also in UPF ...) complete the line-up as guests. After a short guitar-voice intro, Southern Empire attacks the next two tracks on a rather nervous rock tone, very well arranged and recorded, with rather classical structures with pleasant and memorable choruses, and delivering more original instrumentals at the end of the tracks. The world accents that were one of Unitopia's trademarks are more discreet, but the musicians' technique is more emphasized, with more guitar and keyboard solos.

The lover of extended tracks who slumbers in each progressive fan will obviously pay particular attention to the big epic at the end of the album. With its 28 minutes, 'The Bridge that Binds' attracts the ear. With a few easy arrangements, some not necessarily very promising verses and some rather convenient choral choruses, it will be difficult to find here the epic density that was a trademark of Sean Timms' previous band. The title owes its length to interspersed solo parts that smell like impro / jam, and the end is quite predictable. In fact, this 'Bridge' is closer in spirit to The Tangent's productions than to Unitopia's.

Despite everything, Sean Timms keeps a very present quality of composition, which is expressed in a very convincing way in 'How Long', the track that is the real highlight of the record, unfolding over eleven minutes a nice journey full of landscapes with multiple colours, carried by musicians who are both very comfortable on the technical level and expressing themselves with a beautiful sensitivity. Danny Lopresto's voice is more mundane and less inhabited than Mark Trueack's, but more in keeping with the rock style that dominates the album.

The preliminary question is therefore not clear-cut: if UPF sounds more Unitopia, Southern Empire seems more original and bears the seeds of more than interesting qualities. We'll probably have to wait for the next productions of these two bands that have become competitors, who will probably choose to assert a stronger identity. In any case, Southern Empire signs here a coherent and attractive album. Obviously to be followed ...
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Show Me The Way
02. Forest Fire
03. Hold
04. How Long
05. The Bridge That Binds: i. Don’t Look Down/ ii. The Bridge That Binds/ iii. Before You Know It/ iv. Turbulence/ v. Show Me A Sign/ vi. Undercurrents/ vii. Let The River Run Red/ viii. It All Depends/ ix. The End Of My Days
06. Dreams & Machines

LINEUP:
Brody Green: Chant / Batterie
Cam Blokland: Chant / Guitares
Danny Lopresto: Chant / Guitares
Jez Martin: Chant / Basse
Sean Timms: Chant / Claviers / Saxophone
Adam Page: Invité / Saxophone
   
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READERS
4.2/5 (4 view(s))
STAFF:
3.8/5 (5 view(s))
MY RATING
 
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