Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song comes from UK prog-metal band Empress. “Perplexed Again” comes from their 2012 single, backed by a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe”, on Left In Awe Records.
Empress have done pretty well with their little time on the scene. The band is based in Reading, UK, and have a pretty hard-lined philosophy about writing what they want. Ollie and Alex Loring lead the band. The brothers had numerous musical endeavors prior to Empress, but they always felt like they weren’t completely in love with what the scene dictated. So with Empress, we see them embracing instinctual writing to the fullest, and the result is the intense, intricate prog-rock experience that is Empress. The band has released a handful of singles and has been building their live experience so that when they pop, they will be ready. Luckily, with today’s song of the day, you get a little taste of that before a lot of people.
“Perplexed Again” is a defiantly standalone track. It doesn’t really depend on any band context or the track before or after it - it’s just a five minute gauntlet that takes you from one end of the spectrum to the other with little mercy. The conglomeration of sounds that Empress brings to the table is a unique one. You can hear a lot of influence from prog-metal gods like Tool and the Mars Volta, but then when the chorus breaks, you can hear just a bit of Gallagher in their sound. This isn’t a bad thing - you’ll never totally track down all of the dramatic emotional shifts in this track. Between the beastly opening hook, the haunting melody of the chorus, and a gorgeous acoustic compliment to the opening later on, “Perplexed Again” is a very appropriate introduction to Empress, and it will more than likely lend itself to quite a few listens.
Empress has a new single, “Deeper In Disguise”, out now and is set to release a full length record some time this year. No signs of hopping the Pond yet, but keeps your eyes peeled at their website and Facebook page. Grab “Perplexed Again” above and watch the video below. It features martial arts and cool masks.