Empathy Test return for 2017 with their new EP ‘By My Side’. With echoes of CHVRCHES and Purity Ring, the enigmatic duo have impressed with their brooding electro sound; winning critical praise and a legion of dedicated fans worldwide. Empathy Test evoke a cinematic appeal with their songwriting and showcase an ability to transform the mundane into something beautiful and tragic. This partly stems from their inspiration by sci-fi worlds. Isaac Howlett and Adam Relf formed Empathy Test after discovering a mutual love of eighties sci-fi soundtracks and underground dance and indie music, with the name Empathy Test being taken from the film Blade Runner.
The new EP follows last year’s stunning ‘Demons / Seeing Stars’ release, and only adds further intrigue to their forthcoming debut album. The EP’s eponymous opener explores the emotions of desire within a dysfunctional relationship when all avenues of reconciliation have been exhausted. The listener is initially lulled into a false sense of security; with it’s serene synths and snaps twinned with more emotive lyrics of throwing “another lover on the fire”. The track swells until the soaring chorus perfectly balances the yearning sentiment of the lyrics “Don’t you wanna be by my side?”
If ‘By My Side’ represents the trauma of the EP, then ‘Vampire Town is the emotional light at the end of the tunnel, and conveys a sense of healing. The spacious washes and haunting vocals throughout the EP integrate to form an overall sense of darkness and mystery; and ultimately tell a story of longing, regret and, finally, acceptance. It’s a method that captures the duo’s strength and goes straight for the jugular. Empathy Test are renowned for captivating their live audiences with their branded mix of analogue synth sounds and eighties pop beats. With the help of new live keyboardist Jacob Ferguson Lobo and drummer Christina Lopez, there are numerous upcoming shows and festival appearances around Europe including Electronic Winter (Gothenburg, 28/1/17), Synth Pop Goes Berlin (Berlin, 17/2/17), and Amphi (Cologne, 22/7/17). If you haven’t already checked out the electro pop prism of Empathy Test’s world, then it’s time to acquaint yourself with this amazing new talent.