As such, the album opener “Laura” is still very much Coldplay X&Y-era sounding, yet it retains the sound of an ambitious band that hasn’t yet made it to the big leagues – something I personally feel has been lacking on recent Coldplay releases. “Laura” isn’t the world’s most complicated song - as a matter of fact it is quite accessible. With its delay-laden guitar parts, minimalistic rhythm work and the downplayed though surprisingly pleasant-sounding vocals this song is exactly what a band like this should sound like – no beating around the bush, just a straightforward stadium sounding pop-rock/alternative rock song.
Moving further along the album, I stumble upon a track I am not particularly fond of. The name of the track is “Cannonball” and the reason for my, shall we say disinterest in the track is actually quite peculiar in itself. While I previously stated that the track “Laura” was exactly how I wanted a track of this genre to sound, I didn’t take diversity of the tracks into account. While “Laura” is near perfect to me, I do still seek some variation on albums and to me “Cannonball” is just too reminiscent of the track “Laura” for me to really get into it, not in terms of chord progressions or lyrics, but more in terms of the mood. A truly powerful album is, to me, an album that gradually evolves and often evokes new feelings and moods in the listener, and “Cannonball” is not exactly helping in that respect.
That however, was one of my most negative aspects of this album, and as such I must say that IUTBAS has come a long way since their debut album. I’ve taken a far greater liking to this album than the previous one and I highly recommend fans of sparkly alternative rock to get their hands on this album – or at least spare a couple of minutes to hear a song or two from it. I think it’ll hit the spot if this is the type of music you’re craving.
Continuing the theme of rather incomprehensible names, the single from the new album is called 'Warpaint on Invisible Children', which acts as a good introduction to the duo's sound.
Drifting synth, syncopated drums and staccato guitar riffs are teamed with ethereal reverb-heavy vocals and tight, clean production, which makes for an impressive electronica soundscape. This is a noticeable improvement over their debut release, which comes across considerably more lightweight in comparison.
As for sound-alikes, you can certainly hear more than a hint of one of I Used To Be A Sparrow's chief influences, Coldplay, while there are nods to Angels and Airwaves and Explosions In The Sky, whom Pettersson and Caccese also cite as favourites.
Overall, there's a very strong sense that all the songs belong together musically, but often the tracks are almost too closely related - making it hard to tell when one has ended and another has begun.
This also has something to do with the duo's predilection for writing tunes that eschew the standard verse-bridge-chorus structure and don't revolve around chorus hooks.
Of the 11 tracks, the emotive 'Submarine' is the standout. Featuring just jangling guitars, the track adds some much-needed texture to the album, and the line 'We had it all, you know' has real poignancy when sung with such well-placed falsetto tones.
While not exactly a sing-along indie-pop classic, the light, uplifting feel of You Are an Empty Artist, teamed with excellent production values, makes it a very listenable album.