What’s that bit in ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’ that everybody loves? Yeah, the whistling. Whistle that one anywhere, and it’s bound to get another few joining in for the chorus. It’s almost like imagining yourself sitting high on a girder overlooking New York City in the 20s with your hod on your back.
The opening track (‘Don’t Mind Me’) of O Emperor’s debut EP Reverie has a similar moment when the whistling kicks in. It’s instantly embracing, and lets you know you’re on to a winner. O Emperor have release this little four track EP, but all the songs are winners.
They are radio-friendly to the extreme, but never cheesy. These five Waterford guys know how to craft melody and great hooks. ‘Ghost of My Heart’ is a floaty, almost ethereal tune, but tones it down before it gets a chance to go out of control. It’s much more varied and introspective than many songs you hear on radio, but at the same time, wouldn’t appear out of place in a Top 40 Countdown.
They played the New Band Stage at Oxegen last year, and are destined for bigger things. ‘Devil Don’t Dance’ has a Spanish flair, which will enchant listeners outside of Ireland. ‘It Only Comes to Pass’ has a totally different feel to the other tunes, much more gritty and acoustic. It’s a great song, and one that fits in perfectly with the Irish singer-songwriter mode many of us are used to.
Immediately impressive, O Emperor have created an astonishing debut, and one which will stay on record players long after the summer ends.