by Sacha Kingston-Wayne
Empath’s new EP Liberating Guilt And Fear is comprised of the three cleanest, catchiest songs that the band has released yet, plus just under nine minutes of noise and bird sounds. Portions of the EP stand as the Philadelphia band’s most accessible work, while other moments (such as the aforementioned bird samples) find them at their strangest and most alienating.
Empath’s music is sweet and jagged, like razor blades hidden inside Halloween candy. The chorus of standout track “The Eye” (previously featured on the Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2017 sampler) indulges in a pop riff played with the speed and energy of a hardcore punk song.
Following “The Eye” and the equally robust “No Attachment,” closing track “III” feels like a curveball. In those final moments, Empath embraces their self-described “new age noise” sound more than ever before. Over the course of its brief runtime, Liberating Guilt and Fear freely explores Empath’s most fascinating qualities as a band. Their sharper edges are still there, cutting deep in unexpected ways.