London’s Empathy Test are back with double A-Side Demons/Seeing Stars, the first taste of their forthcoming debut album. Since releasing their stunning debut EP, “Losing Touch” in 2014, followed by their second, “Throwing Stones”, the enigmatic duo have impressed with their brooding cinematic electro pop sound, winning strong on line and radio support from the likes of KCRW, BBC Introducing, and XFM and features with MTV, Clash Music, Earmilk and PopMatters.
Empathy Test are Isaac Howlett (vocals) and Adam Relf (production) , who formed the band after discovering a mutual love of ‘80s sci-fi soundtracks, ‘90s guitar bands and underground dance music. With echoes of Chrvches and Purity Ring, their sound has been described as Future Pop and Dark Wave.
Their band name is taken from the science fiction film “Blade Runner”. The duo’s artwork is also sci-fi inspired and follows similar themes to the film, focusing on the basis of consciousness and the relationship between humans and technology. This is also what drives the band’s sound – to produce futuristic notes on a keyboard whilst giving it a human element thanks to Howlett’s vocal who manages to sound distant and heartfelt at the same time.
They are adept at making music with catchy choruses and hooks, but this is no cheesy pop – they retain a musical depth that is epic and cinematic.
Empathy Test are renowned for captivating their audiences with their branded mix of analogue synth sounds and uplifting melodies. Live shows take audiences through driving creative rhythms and ‘80s pop beats and new single Demons is a live favourite amongst fans. “Demons” is an accomplished, polished electro-pop song – a stunning coupling of Relf’s ethereal atmospherics on synth and Howlett’s distinctive, perfect aching vocal.
The double “A” side, Seeing Stars starts with shimmering synth with dreamy echoes and regular beat of percussion. It has a pureness to its sound and a soft melancholy which adds a beauty to the song. Both songs showcase the duo’s continued ability to create music with a nod to the ‘80s but ensuring it feels current using their own brand of dark, brooding synth theatrics and enigmatic vocals.
While on tour last year, Empathy Test performed at Wave-Gotik -Treffen Festival in Germany, Urban Forest Festival in the UK and headlined Riba Rocks Festival in Spain. They have shared stages with artists such as Bombay Bicycle Club and The Japanese House. In September 2016, the duo are embarking on another European tour that culminates with a show at London’s The Garage on 2nd October.