Music

Empathy Test - 'Safe From Harm' / 'Losing Touch' (album streams) (premiere)

London synthpop extraordinaires Empathy Test create a world with their sunny and cinematic music on Safe From Harm and go post-apocalyptic and groovy on Losing Touch.

Following an overwhelmingly positive response to their PledgeMusic crowdfunding campaign, London's Empathy Test is just about to release their debut albums. Both take different lanes in regards to the overall output of sound that the duo puts forth, with each representing a decidedly individualistic side of their overall sonic evolution.


There is a reason that, while the world is nearly bloated with synthpop, Isaac Howlett and Adam Relf's project stands out among the rest. If their can-do spirit in developing two conceptual sister albums simultaneously isn't enough, that each is genuinely a strong body of work just might be.

Compared to Losing Touch, Safe From Harm feels like the sunnier and more cinematic of the two releases. It's less focused on the grooving goings-on of the instrumentation than it is with developing an ethereal soundscape for soaring vocals to take center stage. Of the concept albums, it feels more conceptual, focusing less on catchy melodies and more on a weird and wonderful world that the duo that proudly, and even strangely, crafts by calling back to sci-fi classics while feeling completely contemporary.

Losing Touch represents a more ominous side to Empathy Test's output that places them in a post-apocalyptic synthpop paradise. The driving nature of the tracks present on the record is indicative of their 1980s dance music inspirations.

The album as a whole may feel collectively darker than its sister record, Safe From Harm, but it also has more of a groove to it. It likely isn't a pie in the sky assessment that it won't be long before this record will be spinning in clubs throughout the UK. It's another slam dunk for the indie duo that could.Both records are well worth giving a listen to for entirely different reasons, and you can listen to both in full exclusively on PopMatters ahead of their 17 November release.


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