Bad Break Magazine
EMPTY LUNGS STAND UP E.P Quarintine Collective
Review: Empty Lungs - Stand Up E.P.
Words and Photography by William Woods
espite what some people might tell you we don’t have a bad music scene here in Belfast, but one thing I feel the city does lack is the wholehearted, optimistic and unremittingly earnest style of punk rock we see on labels like No Idea Records. The sound whose path was paved by the likes of Descendents, Hot Water Music and Alkaline Trio. Thankfully however, there is at least one band in Belfast bringing something of that ilk to the table; Empty Lungs. After hearing their 2011 single Identity Lost I had high hopes for what the band would come up with next and the new E.P. Stand Up, self-released in association with Quarantine Collective in February, has delivered exactly what I was hoping for. Think Latterman meets Above Them with folk influences and a bit of Belfast character thrown in and you’ll have something close to what these guys are achieving. I don’t know about you but I couldn’t really ask for much more from a local band. That’s not to say the band don’t have a very distinct sound all of their own because they most certainly do. Helped in no little part by Kev’s characteristic gruff lead vocals, as well as the strong dual backing vocals provided by Ryan and Sam, Empty Lungs create wonderfully melodic and pasionate punk rock. They don’t overuse their distortion pedals, which is something that’s always refreshing to hear.
The tracks on the record flow together wonderfully, with the first two, Running in Circles and Until the Day we Die, drawing you in and grabbing you with fast paced, Latterman-esque guitar hooks before the third track, Nothing Left to Lose really shows off what the band is all about. The interaction between the vocals, backing vocals and guitar melodies makes this a perfect example of the band’s distinctive, and impressive, sound. Track four, Long Road Home, gives a sense of the bands folk influences with its slower pace, arpeggiated chords and more of a story-telling vibe than the previous tracks. This track builds to an impressive climax creating the emotional peak of the E.P, before Release the Lifeboats brings a return to the faster pace and energy of the opening tracks while still retaining a little bit of that folky flavour. This comes immediately before the straight up angry optimism of Stand Up brings the E.P. full circle. Urging you to stand up and be heard when you’re skint and angry, and not to let it get you down Stand Up echoes the consciousness of Running in Circles but with the emotion and passion required to put across its message effectively. It really wraps up the record perfectly and you can see why it was chosen as the title track, while Empty Lungs’ fantastic socially and politically engaged lyrics really make Stand Up a record not to be missed. You can tell these dudes have real devotion to what they do, that they’re working hard to do it and I can tell you that they do it well.l.
A sample from the upcoming first issue of Bad Break magazine. This piece reviews the Stand Up E.P. by Belfast Punk Rock bnad, Empty Lungs.