Although the rapid shifts in tone make Empty Space Orchestra’s self-titled seem more like a film soundtrack or a series of jam sessions, each track is a story in itself, and as with all instrumental work the key is in the title. There are some truly fantastic hooks and the changes in mood throughout pull you along with sheer acoustic force.

The drums are incredibly tight and tie together some fascinating guitar work and beautiful keyboard. 'Clouds' in particular has echoes of Explosions in the Sky, and a standout is 'The Hangar', with its melancholic melody, but my youthful mind is just too jaded to appreciate saxophone – it only makes me think of cheesy solos in eighties films. There are some very lovely melodies: ESO could be argued as making a very effective attempt to defy genre, but overall it sounds more like a mess of techniques and sounds which are well executed but don’t really mesh.

Admittedly it’s a great alternative to shoegaze or your average wandering instrumentalism, but the melodies will either forge love or hatred. As a work, it swoops and soars, but doesn’t feel completely coherent. The heavier moments showcase the bands cohesion and the lighter jams reveal their virtuosity. And when they rock out they rock out very hard. But I still find it hard to get past the eighties saxophone and seventies keyboard moments.

Photobucket