It was my first time catching My Empire live and the best way to describe them is that if Nirvana & Queens of the Stone Age had a lovechild then it’s quite possible that My Empire would be the resultant offspring.
Delivering robust rock music with passion seems to be their mantra and they do that with aplomb despite having a drum kit with a dodgy leg or two (the kit not the drummer that is). Stand out tracks from their set are “Iggy Pop” (I’m sure the man in question would enjoy the song bearing his name) and set closer “Bring the Noise”. All in all it was a great introduction to My Empire and I’ll be definitely seeking them out again.
And so to the main course, exmagician are the new musical vehicle for Danny Todd and James Smith formerly of Cashier No. 9 who have returned re-invented, re-invigorated and clearly cutting their own path. They arrive in Limerick for the final date of their Irish tour on which they have been showcasing their excellent debut album “Scan the Blue” promising ‘no tricks and terrible jokes’.
But what they deliver is some fantastic tunes and they launch straight into the lead track from the album the rousing “Kiss That Wealth Goodbye”, a tune packed full of feelgood indie vibes.
The songs cover a multitude of themes there’s even one about a spotted rat we’re told (or is that one of the promised terrible jokes?). For the most part Danny takes on the main vocal duties relenting temporarily for his ‘hairy friend’ Jamie to take up the mantle on “Plan Retrieval” which features an excellently dizzy electronic backing track.
After a lively run of numbers they eventually slow the tempo down for the delicious “Feet Don’t Fail” which evokes a perfect lazy summer and then with Danny back on vocals we’re treated to “Smile to the Gallery” that ends with a gorgeous coda; for me the slower songs from the album really work live and you find yourself easily lost in them.
The crackin’ current single “Job Done” is as forceful and fabulous as it is on record, before we get hit with the glam rock stomp of “Wild Eyes” which certainly recalls Bowie’s “Jean Genie”.
Before we know it our hour with exmagician has almost come to an end and they leave us with “Place Your Bets” full of hypnotic guitar lines and a beautiful elongated fade out that would have you imagining the band disappearing over the horizon, hopefully to return to Dolan’s again sometime soon.
“Scan the Blue” is released by Bella Union and is available in all good record stores, online and via the Bella Union store.
Hear tracks from the album every Saturday (8am) and Wednesday (9pm) in April on Sounds from a Green World on 8radio.com