EMPATH ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM VISITOR OUT FEBRUARY 11TH VIA FAT POSSUM

EMPATH

ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM
VISITOR
OUT FEBRUARY 11TH VIA FAT POSSUM

WATCH “DIAMOND EYELIDS” VIDEO

Photo Credit: Marie Lin 

Empath today announce their new album, Visitor, with a wild Halle Ballard-directed video for lead single “Diamond Eyelids.” Visitor is due February 11th via Fat Possum.

This song was written in a stream of consciousness from a few pieced together memories I had,” says Catherine Elicson. “One of coming downstairs at my house one morning and unexpectedly finding a friend who lives on the other side of the country asleep on the couch, and the other memory was of when a friend used to travel from Chicago an hour and a half to the suburbs to work full time at a low paying Americorps job. Collaging memories in a way that created an emotional narrative about reaching for a fleeting moment of connection and familiarity.

Inspired by the disquieting scores of Nosferatu (1922) and The Wicker Man (1973) alongside David Bowie’s Low and forever favorites Fleetwood Mac, Visitor marks a seismic shift for the Philadelphia, PA quartet. While the album holds steadfast to the careening, joyous noise Empath staked their name on, Visitor was produced by Jake Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), making it the first release the band has recorded with a producer in a formal studio.

Pre-order “Visitor” HERE

Empath have just finished a successful run of dates Stateside with Modest Mouse, and further US dates with Fucked Up follow in November and December.

WATCH THE “DIAMOND EYELIDS” VIDEO

Of the video, Elicson says “the idea for this music video was spawned from a desire to have some kind of puppet video of us made. I knew that Halle could pull that off, so she started making all of us and our instruments out of papier mache, which took a couple months. When it came to the clothes we weren’t really sure how to go about making those. I suggested maybe they just stay naked and be babies in a womb, and the whole concept of the video kind of snowballed from that. Halle had a pregnancy suit from a previous project, and we agreed it would take the video to a weird psychological level and also be funny if I were to wear it and give birth to myself and the rest of the band. A lot of Halle’s work deals with mother daughter themes so it just felt like it made sense to go that direction.

ABOUT VISITOR

On Visitor, Empath sought to one-up the range of sounds heard on their previous album. During what he calls West Philly Christmas (the week undergrads at UPenn move out and leave piles of high-quality garbage out on the street) Randall Coon recovered a suitcase organ with a sound bank from a Jamiroquai record preset on it, which he later played on the album, in addition to running samples on Ableton and acquiring a brand new synth; Jem Shanahan, who plays a ‘90s children’s keyboard, had Portrait filter it in such a way that it sounded “less childlike”; Catherine Elicson’s vocals, buried deep in the mix on Active Listening: Night on Earth, take center stage; and Garrett Koloski’s drums are as capacious as they might be in a live set.

“Our approach to songwriting, and what we constantly try to improve upon, is finding the meeting ground between all of our distinct points of view and ideas we are trying to achieve sonically and conceptually,” Elicson says. “We never want to be tied down to one type of song or sound, and we love all kinds of improvisational music. We try to fit everything we love into each song, and hopefully produce something new and exciting through that process of synthesis.”

Visitor attempts to fill space, both physical and psychic, visible and invisible. The album’s cover was photographed by Andrew Emond, who captures the interiors of abandoned buildings. “The spaces look lived in and altered by humans but no humans are present,” Elicson reflects. “The songs are similar in the sense that they talk about the ‘space’ between people. They’re not about specific people per se, but they illustrate the feelings people leave between each other, these subjective experiences. You can think of Visitor as a soundtrack to the memories and feelings that remain in places people have left behind.”

In the process of writing the lyrics to “Diamond Eyelids,” Catherine patchworked memories together, prioritizing a likeness in sensation over the circumstantial. “History comes back to you in shards that I reach out to touch,” she sings, a hint of desperation in her voice. “Tell me we create love in absence.” Rather than compete, the song’s two melodies coalesce, a sensation that’s at once catchy and just slightly unnerving. “That song has pop sensibilities, but it’s weird and heavy at the same time,” Coon says. “That’s definitely something we strive for,” Koloski adds. “We want to throw all these experimental ideas in but at the end of the day, we want people to be able to sing along to it.”

On the muscly, two-chord progression of “Born 100 Times,” the closest to a punk song Visitor has to offer, Elicson’s razor sharp delivery serves as a counterweight to the instrumental onslaught. “We tried to balance the lyrical whimsy with instrumental heaviness and hoped to transcend both,” Elicson says. It also boasts some of her best writing, distilling humid pangs of midsummer love in an unforgettable line: “You’re soft like leather in the heat because devotion comes so easily, in every color you can dream.”

Empath included a series of samples on Visitor, all of which cohere to make the album sound as if it’s disrupting ambient noise. “Audio was taken from films, Minecraft, a cassette of nature sounds from the Bayou, recordings of an air conditioner, and a church choir heard through the walls of the warehouse we rehearse in,” Elicson says. “It’s a collage of sounds intended to produce a feeling of hearing life through the walls.” Visitor attempts to bridge the space between. It’s an impossible task, surely, but the result of their efforts produces a transcendent experience all its own.

Empath
Visitor
Out February 11th on Fat Possum
Pre-Order HERE

1. Genius of Evil
2. Born 100 Times
3. Diamond Eyelids
4. Passing Stangers
5. Corner of Surprise
6. House + Universe
7. Elvis Comeback Special
8. 80s
9. V
10. Bell
11. Paradise

Empath online:

WEBSITE | BANDCAMP | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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