Electropop duo Empathy Test craft warm, evocative tunes…
Originally formed in 2013, Empathy Test is a collaboration between Isaac Howlett and Adam Relf who have stepped into the world of electronic music with a view to crafting synthpop with a warm and wistful element. They subsequently released a 4-track EP Losing Touch in 2014, whose title track had a dark pop appeal, and was followed by a further EP Throwing Stones the same year.
Now with new release ‘By My Side’, Empathy Test are again demonstrating a talent for a particularly atmospheric type of synthpop that’s a refreshing and original change from many of their contemporaries. ‘By My Side’ is a smooth slice of warm synthpop with a polished production that offers up a cinematic panorama of electronic goodness.
Meanwhile, ‘Vampire Town’ comes across like a lost Sound Of Arrows track with its wistful rhythms and lyrics that tell of regret and lost moments.
There’s a fragility at the heart of Empathy Test’s material here, which also employs a subtle and understated production that offers up songs that speak of sorrow and longing. For fans of the likes of Purity Ring and Hurts, there’s something similar here in the way Empathy Test craft warm, evocative tunes that have a sense of melancholy about them.
It’s a particular approach that the band have honed since their early EP releases and which they’ve further developed in the interim period. Tracks such as 2016’s ‘Demons’ and ‘Throwing Stones’ tracked a path of immersive melodic charm and ‘By My Side’ continues the trend here.
The outfit have also demonstrated that they’re capable of adapting this sound to a live setting. In 2015 they performed to a 1,000+ audience at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen Festival in Germany. They’ve also performed alongside the likes of Mesh and VNV Nation for live performances where Empathy Test’s lineup is augmented by additional musicians.
All of this is paving the way for Empathy Test’s debut album, which is planned to be funded by a PledgeMusic campaign. A further single release ‘Bare My Soul’ is mooted for April with a final single ‘Safe From Harm’ arriving once the album is released.
‘By My Side’ is out now.
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.