You can hear flashes of Michael Jackson, Phil Collins and other members of the western musical zeitgeist in Rival Empire’s music. This helps to underline a theme in the Chicago based band’s work: the idea of their being a dark, muddy reflection of our pop-culture.
Like a lot of bands, Rival Empire seem to have an interest in paying homage to the full, heavy sounds of the eighties. But Rival takes it a step further by smelting their influences down into a thick sludge of their most basic components and blending them with their own style.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether they’re aping the sound sincerely, like a scene from Glee or if they’re mimicking ironically, like a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy. (No link because spoilers.) But that’s not really the point. The point is that they’re reverse engineering songs we used to like and then serving up the active ingredients in a fresh new format.
Anyway. That’s enough mixed-metaphors for one post. You can stream Rival Empire’s self-titled album through Soundcloud below.