With Melodic Hooks and Syncopated Beats, This Quartet Moves Crowds
Name: Young Empires
Where They’re From: Toronto, Canada
Genre: Dance rock
When They Started: 2oo9
Most Like: Vampire Weekend, The Killers, The Rapture
Sounds like: a penthouse party in “Gossip Girl”
When you hear “Canadian haute world beat,” what comes to mind? Well, maybe nothing yet, but guaranteed that Young Empires, a young indie outfit coming out of Toronto, will burn into your mind what that means.
Mapping some new sonic territory somewhere between Vampire Weekend and The Killers, they combine syncopation and melodrama to excellent effect. Big single “White Doves” yawns with eighties synth meets nineties alt-melancholy, and it’s the mellowest of their tracks. If that’s all you’ve heard, you’ll get the wrong impression of these guys. They’re actually frenetic dance rockers, and they’re known for winning over cold audiences with their live act.
Matthew Vlahovich, Jacob Palahnuk, Robert Aaron Ellingson met in Toronto in 2009 and got together as Young Empires, combining the names of their older, defunct bands. (Drummer Taylor Hill joined them at the end of 2011.) Like another melodic, energetic rock band, Two Door Cinema Club, whom they’ve remixed, Young Empires broke through in 2010 by appearing on a Kitsune compilation. They’ve already opened for Chromeo and Foster the People, and this summer they’re touring North America from coast to coast.
Working in a post-Arcade Fire Canadian rock landscape, their first EP Wake All My Youth dropped early this year, and hits like “White Doves,” “Earth Plates Are Shifting” and “Rain of Gold” promise that they’re following in the steps of their indie hit-making forebears. And necessary for any young band that wants to survive in today’s market, their infectious, feel-good tunes have found their way into a licensing bonanza, from appearing on Jersey Shore to The Real World.
Beyond the music, they’re working with interesting directors to make innovative videos. Case in point, the video for “White Doves,” which combines with your Facebook account to make you (and your Facebook friends) a star. Stardom — that’s something that White Empires will have to deal with soon enough.
Watch a live performance of “Enter Through the Sun” by Young Empires: