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Empty Friend - Falter

Empty Friend
by Emily Schneider at 13 April 2020, 9:07 PM

Grunge Rock is a genre you don't hear a lot of new bands specialize in these days. For the guys in EMPTY FRIEND, it was almost destined to be their genre of choice. 3 of the members met up at a SOUNDGARDEN reunion show in 2015 after all. They took time and care to ensure their music they're wanting to convey was just right before they recorded their first EP in 2018. They decided on this new EP “Falter” that they wanted something more raw and heavy. This album is definitely heavy Grunge Rock but there are also some Stoner Rock and even Metal elements stirred in and the product is pretty stellar.

“You Are Not the Sun” has riffs that sound rather Pop Punk circa early 2000s, but the vocals and lyrics are definitely the Grunge Rock style I was expecting. Kind of an odd blend happening in this opening track. “Draw the Line” captures the heavy Grunge Rock feel a lot more. Dave's vocals channel that cool note drop on the final word at the end of every couple of verses thing that's iconic with singers like the late Chris Cornell. “No Light” was an excellent track. I love the gritty sound in the guitar melodies and the vocals have a great raw emotional side. I really liked the melody a lot in this one, a little more Stoner Rock in feel, which was really cool to hear.  “Neon” has such a great atmosphere to it. You can imagine this song being played in a cool dive bar with the buzzing neon signs and smoke from the cigarettes swirling around their light. The play style reminded me a lot of ALICE IN CHAINS, especially with how the song ramped up to a faster tempo at the bridge. “Segue” is a short groovy little interlude that leads right into the title track “Falter”. Every member of the band shines in this closing track. The guitars are heavy and more than worthy of banging your head to, the bass line is low and chuggy, the drums add some urgency to the pissed off feel this track evokes. This is definitely the heaviest track on the 5 full song EP and man, that enraged final note from Dave made me shudder. You can feel so much in this song, it captures the appeal of Grunge music pretty damn well.

Overall, this EP was pretty good. The first track feels really out of place, especially because the rest of the songs flow really well together. They pay homage to their influences, without sounding like a replica, which is always a great thing. I also enjoyed the lyrics on this album; it was just the right amount of angst and strife toward society without sounding too edgy or whiny. That's most certainly doing Grunge music right.  Sure, the prime of Grunge Rock was the 90s, but these guys managed to channel the best elements of that era and blend it with the groovy yet gritty portions of Stoner Rock (a-la QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) into something truly interesting in the congested world of Rock music.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. You Are Not the Sun
2. Draw the Line
3. No Light
4. Neon
5. Segue
6. Falter
Dave Kirk - Vocals
Ryan O'Hare - Guitar
Karl Morgan - Drums
Daverage Norman – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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