Thursday, August 9, 2012

Single Review: Lavers - Our Little Empire

Single Rating: A
Lavers The Street Is A Symphony was the perfect EP for those of us who felt nostalgic: it had acoustic ballads that sounded like they were straight out of the 1970's, it had self-loathing anthems that made us feel like we were in the middle of an Oasis mosh pit in the mid 1990's, it had a 1980's Springsteenish sounding folk song, and it even incorporated some 1960's Beatles and Beach Boys influences.  If you ever wanted to revisit a place in your past, The Street Is A Symphony was going to be your EP: the band had created songs that perfectly summarized just about every decade, sound, and nostalgic feeling in radio rock history.  They had created an album you could listen to at just about any time, when you were in any mood, and most importantly when you wanted to listen to just about anything.  Even though this seemed like it was a enormous achievement on the surface, the EP seemed to be more of a greatest hits album than an actual original Lavers work.  The EP seemed to be a summer playlist a fat kid gives to his crush instead of an original work of art, the EP seemed to have a lot of voices instead of just sounding like a Lavers EP, and the EP seemed to be made for occasional nostalgia instead of lasting excellence.  It was easy to see that Lavers were a band that just oozed potential, but they had to make this potential THEIR OWN potential.

Our Little Empire is a huge step in the right direction for Lavers.  Even though it is just one single, it shows Lavers as a band that has mastered a sound that they could rightfully call their own.  It is a sound that originally combines the instrumental vulnerability of Radiohead's "Gagging Order," the vocals of The Antlers, and some impeccable songwriting.  Instead of sounding just sounding like a cluster mess of nostalgic influences, "Our Little Empire" sounds like the perfect blending of just about everyone of the bands folk influences and it gives the band a completely original sound.  Because of this Lavers have done in one song what The Street Is A Symphony took an entire EP to do: "Our Little Empire" is a song that gives you a 1960's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and 2000's feel all in a one song and combines many of the separated sounds presented to us on The Street Is A Symphony.  The reason "Our Little Empire" is able to combine all of this nostalgia into one track is because "Our Little Empire" is the sound of a band finding its original sound and the influences it needs to produce that sound, instead of just being a band who is heavily influenced by sounds of the past.  The difference is that when you listen to "Our Little Empire" easily shuffle between many past influences on every verse, chorus, and breakdown you are left wondering: "how the hell did they do that?" instead of just saying "that sounds like Oasis!" Even though "Our Little Empire" might be described by many as a simple, beautiful, and catchy folk song, it is really a three minute and 32 second stepping stone for what could be an important band for many years to come.  Years from now we will look back at Our Little Empire as the moment a band found their original, catchy, and even more important sound.  And that will be the only nostalgia that Lavers discography will produce for us: an original nostalgia that doesn't remind us of greatness of other successful bands, but reminds us of the moment we knew that Lavers could be successful.

Our Little Empire is a single that combines all of the sounds, feelings, and influences of The Street Is A Symphony on one track and does it in a completely original way. Lavers have now proven to us that they can not only combine pop, arena rock, folk, country, and punk influences but they can do it in an original way and just about on any track. "Our Little Empire" is important not only because it is a stepping stone into the bands own original sound, but because it proves that the band can create their own "little musical empire" on just about any track.  And that is some original potential that we can all be excited for.


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