Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Out_Circuit-Lujo Records

March 1, 2008

The Out_Circuit – Pierce the Empire with a Sound

Lujo Records

Well-crafted rock that pulls from alternative, post-hardcore and shoegazing elements.

One can not begin to slap a genre on The Out_Circuit, as there are too many influences. What one can do is applaud front man Nathan Burke for an impressive repertoire of genres. The album’s described to be post-hardcore, but that doesn’t help explain the sound to the reader. Many of the songs have genre-spanning soundscapes and the well-crafted use of keyboards. The most incredible aspect is that Burke is The Out_Circuit mostly by himself, getting occasional help from other artists.

Opener “Come Out Shooting” has a perfect title and energy for a beginning track. It combines soundscapes one would get from shoegazer, post-hardcore screams and bass lines and alternative rock backup vocals. This combination seems strange at first, but it is perfectly executed. Screams are usually a put-off for me, but combined with gentle soundscapes and a pulsing bass line, it increases the intensity and tension of the music.

The album intricately weaves in and out of an intense energetic sound into a more laidback and playful tone. Many of Burke’s lyrics are intriguing and cryptic. On “Across the Light” he sings “Across the land/across the light/I wonder how the distant forms I see,” with Rachel Burke fading in and out of the lyrics, making for an excellent duet. Every track on Pierce The Empire With A Sound offers the listener something new. The only complaint that I can come up with is that the person who is shouting on “The Fall of Las Vegas” does it a little too intensely and comes off a bit absurd. But that’s just scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I still scratch my head how one man can turn out such a project with incredible execution. All of the tracks are arranged perfectly and there are no dead stops. Nathan Burke is definitely an artist to keep an eye on.

Tim Wallen

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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