July Skies/epic45 member Benjamin Holton drops a solo LP under the guise of My Autumn Empire. Anyone who’s copped an earful of previous MAE LPs will be expecting plenty of lush, folky acoustic guitar on Oh, Leaking Universe. They won't be disappointed, but they should also be aware that Holton’s chucked some electronics into the mix this time. The addition of synths and drum machines give tracks like ‘Frost On My Shoes’ a bit of a The War On Drugs feel.
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Making this Monday infinitely more spectacular (tolerable) is the latest release from those fine folk at Wayside & Woodland Recordings. The sounds adorning this CD are those made by My Autumn Empire -- aka Benjamin Holton, one half of epic45 and guitarist with July Skies; so it’s off to a very good start. The lyrical guitar lines are present and correct as you might expect, but this is a set of songs so lush as to have come as a total surprise to this listener-reviewer.
Infused with sprightly melody and chock full of pretty, hazy and frankly dreamy tunes; ‘Oh, Leaking Universe’ is a Dream-Pop wonder.
Synths, guitars, drums and voice all unite to underpin a record of riotous colour and subtle textural interplay. Guitars and drums -- then the tender caress by clouds of synth -- adorn the suburban narrative played out on ‘Forgotten Futures’: stunningly gorgeous. This is an album bursting with late-Summer, dusk-lit instrumental passages which will (hopefully) prefigure many a feet-up moment at home on the sofa, hot cocoa in hand as watery rays permeate the net curtains. Often calls to mind some of the synth pop of bands on the Morr Music label, but mainly post-millennium Solvent and a little dab of Manual.
Trust me, you won’t even mind the acrid smell of next door’s burnt barbecue bangers nor notice the racket from number 32’s ongoing domestic sagas.
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