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The Empty Page - 'Dry Ice' Single Review

Manchester's The Empty Page are another band that deserve bigger stages. Their debut album “Unfolding” married catchy pop songs and swaddled them in a grungy, riot grrrl sensibility. Since then they’ve been able to build and grow their sound, drawing more from their geographical roots with a series of singles. Now they take their cues from Joy Division and Buzzcocks but build on the city’s DNA with a broader view.

Essentially, the band currently exist as a duo. Vocals and bass are handled by Kel with guitars provided by her partner in noise Giz (the pair were both in Obsessive Compulsive together previously). New single 'Dry Ice' is a hymn to the communal gathering that is clubbing that could be taking place anywhere in the world at any time. There’s a yearning for simpler times where all you had to worry about was having enough money to get into a club, have a couple of drinks and hoping you could crash on a friend’s sofa

The bass is relentless, it drives the song with a fuzzy pneumatic rhythm that adds to the percussive feeling of the song. Vintage synths coat the band's post-punk sound, providing a woozy sheen, pulsing over the solo and the following breakdown. Giz is able to add guitars that seem to slice through the song’s muscle and tendon, soaking your ears in feedback while Kel is allowed to stretch her voice further than on previous releases; there is both melody and a sense of venom here that wasn’t present on previous songs from the band. There’s a real feel of nostalgia without being too precious to the subject. I have flashbacks to many night outs, flailing away to the DJ’s soundtrack, the smell of smoke machines, cheap aftershave and poppers ever present in the air.

It’s pop music but fuelled on MD2020 and pheromones. As I type this my head is bobbing away while lost in the nostalgia and flashbacks of half memories of club nights in Newcastle. There’s the old saying of were you really there if you can remember it but with ‘Dry Ice’ The Empty Page have found a way of reminding you of these rites of passage. Let’s hope that the song becomes the soundtrack to many a hedonistic night out for some while the rest of us relive our misspent youth in the comfort of our cozy flats. More please.

Review - Scott Hamilton


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