EMPORIUM were brought together in January 1998 when work commenced on their first album of home recordings “A Fine Fine Line”. Formed in Edinburgh originally as a 3-piece, Emporium chose to remain studio based for much of the next 4 years, performing just a short series of gigs in the summer of ‘ 98. Around this time the song “Sleeping Dogs” was receiving acclaim from radio in Scotland and indeed reached the year-end top 10 songs on BBC SCOTLAND’s BEAT PATROL show.
Over the next 18 months many songs from their debut collection were given airplay and by the new millennium Emporium had notched up 17 radio plays. A second batch of songs was completed in 2000 for the album “Its The Thought That Gets You High” and their first nationally distributed single “Email Eddie”, released on the band’s own label and distributed in the Uk by Pinnacle/Shellshock on January 22nd 2001. This was followed on July 30th by the single “Lisa On The Screen” which was airplayed in Germany, Uk, Holland, and America where it was also given a glowing review in Boston’s Music Business Monthly.
The release of “Hallucinations” in 2002 brought further positive feedback from various media, and scored ALBUM OF THE MONTH on POPSCENE (Netherlands) and PLANETE INDIE (Belgium).
In 2003 Emporium were awarded a Scottish Arts Council Grant towards the recording of a the new album ‘Silver Brainwaves’ which was released on 2005. During a four year sabbatical, Emporium took time to develop their own label further. In 2012, Emporium returned with new tracks and a 17 track compilation FROM ANOTHER PLANET – THE BEST OF EMPORIUM (1998-2011).
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A brand new Emporium album, “The Afterlife” is currently in final production and should be released in December of this year. We recently got to preview the newly recorded tracks.
On listening to this album, I’m not sure whether we are in the 60’s, 80’s, 90’s or the 2000’s. Emporium draw from an enormous bucket of influences. At times I here The Walker Brothers or Paul Weller’s Style Council, then maybe Julian Cope’s The Teardrop Explodes or The Housemartins and even traces of The Beach Boys. It’s sixties, its Britpop, its post-punk, its mod, its new romantic…the only thing for sure is, its indie.
This is without a shadow of a doubt a fine album. Lyrically it holds its own, rich with feeling, and its upfront, self-confessional honesty, is inspiring and reaches elevated heights both artistically and emotionally. The songs are beautiful and the singing and harmonies on the album are superb.
Standouts are the album opener “The Afterlife,” the languid ballad “Bluebell Wood,” the track “Magical Things,” “Beautiful Insanity(Don’t Fit In)” and the piano-driven “The Umbrella Shop.”
Music, like all art, is a medium of communication and never has communication been more pure and enlightening than this. The lush, melodic sound of this album is so rich and entrenched that it seeps into the soul of the listener.
“The Afterlife“ which is a colourful collection of largely nostalgic sounding songs, in my opinion has many surprises, curious tangents as well as both soul and beauty in abundance. Ten tracks that re-treat older ground with a fresh new view. Like a lot of timeless music, it sounds deceptively simple at first but hides a musical complexity which gently unfolds as much as you, the listener, let’s it.
Emporium bring superlative mid-sixties pop, fast forward and straight into today. They migrate a mix of Burt Bacharach and Phil Spector sounding orchestrations into now, and throw in their swirling vocal harmonies to match.
“The Afterlife” is a different kind of album, unlike most you’re currently likely to hear, and through it, Emporium transport our musical nostalgia into the future.
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