Originally released in 2005 with sponsorship from the
Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh band Emporium have just digitally
re-released their fourth studio album ‘Silver Brainwaves’. Formed
back in 1998 and having released three studio albums by 2002, the
three-piece have received much acclaim over the years from being
featured on European radio shows to appearing on end-of-year lists
for BBC Scotland. With ‘Silver Brainwaves’ not quite receiving the
attention it perhaps deserved following its original release, it’s
understandable why the trio have decided to give it another shot.
The album features an almost 60s vibe and is fairly unique
sounding, drawing influence musically from a number of different
sources. Tracks like ‘The Feeling’ and ‘Dice Man’ are made up of
lovely and interesting pop melodies whilst the piano-led ‘Mind
Games’ shows a softer side. Ewan McKenzie’s vocals bring to mind a
mix between Brian Wilson and Nick Drake and of course, the
harmonies work very well indeed for example on ‘Rock For Sand’. The
album drifts nicely to a close with final track ‘Sixes And Sevens’
which has some soft and slightly eerie instrumentation. Ultimately,
‘Silver Brainwaves’ is well-produced and a tad different; two
factors which make it a worthwhile listen for anyone looking for
something with a little bit more of an individual flavour. (7 out
Hailing from Scotland's capital Edinburgh, Emporium formed in
the winter of 1998 and released three albums by 2002. 'Silver
Brainwaves' was actually their fourth record, but has been given a
second shot at stardom with a digital re-release. On listening I
can understand why Silver Brainwaves didn't quite take off in 2005.
With the likes of Akon, Crazy Frog and James Blunt dominating the
Charts, Emporium's sound was just way before its time.
Cut to six years later, Silver Brainwaves should find an
approving audience with its fantastical ethereal, trippy feel. It
is a very unique listen and I myself needed multiple replays to
fully appreciate the delicacies of each track accompanied with the
easy-biting vocals. Although music is ageless, I would very much
like to hear Emporium's new studio works as I am sure they have
used their exceptional flair to polish and develop their talent
On this release, my personal favourites were Mind Games,
Whimsical Theme, Fragments of Knowledge and Wild Star.
Jenness Mitchell (3 stars)
I'm not sure of the place this album has in the modern world.
After all, the outlet for XTC influenced electro-pastoral pop must
be fairly limited. But at least when people point and laugh, you
can hold your head up and say you followed your own path.
It's pop music from another planet with sixties keyboards,
Beach Boys harmonies, ethereal falsetto vocals and slightly twisted
melodies which give you the feeling that someone is looking at you
through a telescope, unsettling but oddly exciting. At least for a
while, until you get the restraining order.
It takes some getting used to, but is ultimately worth the
effort, as songs like "Wasted" and "Mind Games" seep through your
back brain in much the same way as late period Talk Talk did. The
latter (my favourite) makes as good use of space and silence as
Mark Hollis at his best - a rare compliment.
If you like to walk slightly outside the line, then this is
The Rocker (4stars)
'This is the fourth album for this Edinburgh 3-piece.Again, they
don't disappoint by delivering some seriously cheerful but clever
Cannot wait to see them in a London
This album has to be the most bizarre collection of pop tunes
I’ve ever heard. The songs are well structured, they are
exceptionally pleasant to listen to’.
'This album is very structured with each song sounding unlike
the previous one….Emporium have a decidedly personal style with
skilful stirring organ sounds…. constructed around falsetto vocals
and harmonies which reflect atmospheres of the Small Faces, Beach
Boys, and in more recent times the psychedelic sounds of XTC…… it
is pop-rock of excellent making.’’
Munnezza.com (Italy) 4 Stars
This band has a unique and yet hauntingly ‘familiar’ sound.
This seems to be a very successful combination for huge bands of
the past. I feel the "Brit" influence and almost hear a little
Supertramp flavour, and that really makes the songs easy to digest.
Great beats and rhythms, and when the vocals come in to tell the
story you can really tell this group spent some quality time with
the audio engineer during mix-down.
First up on my play-list was "Wasted". This one is nice. I
liked the way it was put together and the beat was consistent. This
song has a rich grouping of instruments and gives me a nice
vacation back in time. It reminds me partly of the sixties and
partly of the British invasion while floating a little bit around
an eighties electro pop sound. It is difficult to say what the
strongest influence is because the song is very unique and strong
in its own way.
Next up was the song "Mind Games". This one seems a little
somber and translates well with a powerful piano riff and some kind
of ambient overlay. Very effective in a simple and understated way
as well as entertaining, and the story makes you want to know more
as it unravels. We all know there is no where to hide and this song
gives a glimmer of acceptance while remaining independent. Very
"Dice Man" starts with a simple yet strong vocal. This singer
is very talented and sings on key without and apparent "auto-tune"
effects - refreshing as there are so many bands that attempt to do
what this group makes seem effortless. That is the right formula if
they expect to grow an audience. Another quality track by this
Overall, I would give these guys the thumbs up and recommend
them to anyone who really appreciates great music. The time it
takes to make a good record is well spent with this band and one
can hear that they all know what they are doing. The talent is
there, the unique sound is there, and these performers should have
no problem gaining a solid fan base.
CEO, Absolute Media July 6th 2011
'Silver Brainwaves', the inspired 2005 album from the
Edinburgh based band Emporium, has just been re-released. Formed in
1998, Emporium centres on the songwriting of singer Ewan McKenzie.
'Silver Brainwaves', the band’s fourth studio effort is melodic
pop, shimmering and engaging, exploring a similar direction to the
work of bands like the High Llamas.
The song 'The Feeling' is warm and welcoming, very nostalgic
and very 1960s, echoing the musical beauty of that classic era. The
lyric expresses mixed emotions: “Something unseen is tugging at me…
the feeling is dying.” Cautious optimism nevertheless accompanies
an upbeat sound: “We’re looking for better days.”
'Dice Man' explores a repeated theme of luck on the album:
“Go with the flow… Any way that you play, you just can’t lose.”
Meanwhile, the sound, with lovely harmonies and layered
instrumentation, brings to mind the influence of Brian Wilson and
the Beach Boys.
'Wasted' expresses hints of melancholy, while 'Blackened
Blue” is moody and thought provoking. 'Mind Games' is likewise a
sombre tune, with distinctive piano playing. The lyric reflects the
tone: “Still the storm’s inside my head/It will linger till I’m
Emporium’s work has received some notable critical acclaim
and their songs are at once sun-soaked, trippy and enchanting. Like
the High Llamas, their music is more indicative of the 1960s and
California than either the current charts or their U.K. home.
'Wild Star' tells the story of a shining girl who, burning
brightly, “torched the heavens every night.” 'Mystic Angela' is
distinctive psychedelic-tinged pop with flowing instrumentation.
The band meanwhile captures a healthy touch of magic in the sound
'Sixes and Sevens' is the mellifluous closer, returning to
the subject of luck: “You can rest in heaven/You can toast in
hell/It’s all sixes and sevens/How we know it so well.”
In the end, 'Silver Brainwaves' is a novel effort from
Emporium and a worthy re-release.