The Empty Spaces
Golden Sound Records
With “Party Line,” Kansas City trio the Empty Spaces returns with six songs seemingly inspired by classic rock — as in pre-1966 or so.
The music features (mostly) clean guitars, often with a proper dose of spring reverb, solid bass sounds and rollicking drumming that wouldn’t be out of place on, say, a Ventures or Hank Marvin record.
Overall, the EP finds a pleasant middle ground between tightness and just enough teenage rock ’n’ roll abandon, sounding a bit like a very good recording of a well-rehearsed band’s practice sessions. There’s not much in the way of studio sheen, overdubs or anything approaching indulgence in recording, but the sound is clear and representative of the band. Each instrument and the vocals are intelligible and enjoyable.
Ross Brown (who, with Empty Spaces frontman Mat Shoare, is one of the principals of Golden Sound Records) not only holds his own drumming on “Party Line,” but provides another example of why he’s an up-and-coming recording engineer.
Taken as a whole though, there’s something just a bit flat about much of the EP. It’s not that the record is lackluster, but in that air-of-practice-tape notion, it seems to only pick up steam through the first few tracks. By the time the band really hits its stride on “Jackie Says” — upping the power variable in the power-pop equation — there’s only one song left. That last song, “1960s Divorce Rate Blues,” is another standout and would be a great closer if it weren’t for the lingering feeling that there should be more.
On one hand, it’s always a good idea to close with a song that leaves listeners wanting more. But on the other, it’s never a bad idea to leave listeners feeling satisfied. That said, all six tracks are quite enjoyable, and the last couple alone make it more than worth picking up the record.