Empire ‎– Talk Free (12″)

To come across a band you haven’t heard of nowadays is very common. There is probably 1000’s of unheard bands out there, many self releasing their own material and gauging success in terms of number of listens and downloads. I wonder what is their measure of success, when do you think they make it ?

Back in 80’s there were Record Companies , shrewd marketing – the 12″ single being on way of getting fans to part with their cash. As I drawl through the second hand records and uncover plenty of “also rans” – they had been marketed for success, signed the deal and the producers and remixer’s employed to garner a “hit.” It might of happened to 1 in 50 , today 1 in 1000. But I still listen to any release with creative integrity, it was someone’s artistic effort – it needs to openly judged. As you know Music is a very subjective thing.

Empire were a typical late 80’s story of being signed to a major , having a handful of releases and then the oblivion of anonymity. Comprising of the late John Uriel and Mark Lee Kemp, Uriel was an arranger and composer and mate of Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware. He later went on to do a project with Glen Gregory called Ugly and founded the 3D Sound Specialists the Illustrious Company. He worked with Claudia Bruken on her 3rd album and shared a house with Thomas Lang. From Liverpool the band signed to EMI Parlophone. The other members were Les Manning, Gerard Ryan: Drums, Percussion, Mike Cusick: Bass, Simon Eyre: Guitar and Bobby Bilsborough: Sax.

They had some big name producers and mixers come in, Richard James Burgess, Bob Clearmountain, Mark Stent and Nick Launay. On this their final release Paul “Groucho” Smykle is given the remix duties.

The sound is quite organic , reminding me of Tears For Fears via Go West. It has a catchy chorus, great vocals, orchestration and a funky fretless bass. Even better on the 12″ mix which is a bit less worn.

B-side “Give Me Time” again has lush, classical arrangement, brushed drums and woodwind, reminds me of Talk Talk.

There was an album, ‘Who Starts the Stopping It’ which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, Amazon Studios in Liverpool and in LA, but was never commercially released.




Parlophone ‎– 12R 6175 talk

A Talk Free (Extended Version)
B1 Talk Free (7″ Version) 3:50
B2 Give Me Some Time 4:57

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