A spacey journey into the static.
Philly four-piece Empath has built a reputation for their noisy, abrasive tones, but always with an underlying melody or rhythm that connects powerfully. On their latest single, “Passing Stranger,” the band flips the script, putting more emphasis on a strong, clear vocal while the mix of synths and guitars shudder and expand in the background. It’s the sound of watching a coronal mass ejection safely from afar, floating in the depths of space.
Throughout the track, guitarist and vocalist Catherine Elicson provides a clear-cut view of the past – good and bad – without nostalgia, painting a picture through expressive vignettes. She easily puts you into her setting with lines like, “You used to ride in the back seat with the windows wide / counting the leaves, the radio played blues all day.”
“This time I pieced together different memories from my childhood, some idyllic, some difficult, but as if it were a story about someone else returning to their hometown,” Elicson said about the song’s lyrics.
“Passing Stranger” will appear on Empath’s sophomore album, Visitor, out on Feb. 11 via Fat Possum.