Hong Kong’s Emptybottles have been quiet for a bit after 2015’s excellent and blissful Un/Titled EP whilst band members tangled with the beast of real life.
With In Complete Sentences the band have popped up stronger and even better. Overall the record sounds bigger and grittier (a result of layering and dubs not present on the first EP I’m told) and on songs like ‘Professional Struggler’ and ‘Ash Wednesday’ those melody parts really sing and the riffs cut in a way your late 90s emo loving grandmother would approve of. At a time when many mathy bands go for a clean polish in sound hearing an EP with an edge is lovely.
Certainly listening to this EP on the fourth or fifth time one can’t help being taken back to the first time one heard Ghosts & Vodka or Sunny Day Real Estate (pink album era). It’s this wonderful capturing of the early euphoria and catharsis of those bands that Emptybottles have done so well here. Not as copy or even tribute, but a capturing of what makes a great emo/math band. The track ‘Sparrow’ is a great example of this, the slow build and the exuberant finish. The “hell-yeah” moment, the goosebumps and hairs to attention. It works a treat.