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Pierce the Empire With a Sound

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Album Review

Five years on from 2003's Burn Your Scripts Boys, one-man-band Nathan Burke has left his day job with the post-hardcore act Frodus and moved cross-country from Washington D.C. to Seattle. As one might expect from all those changes, Pierce the Empire with a Sound is a rather sweeping change of direction from Burke's debut as the Out Circuit. Where that album had been a fairly standard issue emo release tempered by a certain level of Radiohead-like sonic experimentation, Pierce the Empire with a Sound is a dark, chilly electronic album filled with low-key, moody pop songs that occasionally get interrupted by bits of shouty post-hardcore angst. The opening "Come out Shooting" features the best balance of the two sides of the Out Circuit, putting a hoarse screamo vocal against a fluid, bass-driven electronic dance track. Tunes like the lyrical indie electronica of "Across the Light" and "Scarlet," as well as the almost Pink Floyd-like blissout "The Hexagon" are more typical, although the generally mellow and spacy sound is interrupted twice towards the album's center, with "The Contender" and "The Fall of Las Vegas," by-the-book pieces of post-hardcore angst with guest lead vocal appearances by Dustin Kensrue of Thrice and Sean Ingram of Coalesce, respectively. The fact that Burke barely even tries to combine the two sides of the Out Circuit's musical personality after the opening track perhaps suggests that he's less committed to the post-hardcore side of his music than he might be; assuming that five years don't pass before the next album, it seems likely that the dark but appealing electronics will predominate even further.

Pierce the Empire With a Sound, The Out Circuit
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