The full-length debut from Emperors Club, Killer Companion, is a surprisingly opulent pop record. At its core, it is wiry and ready to rock, but with all the glorious harmonies, subtle keyboard lines and intertwining guitar work, the sonic palette is as rich as the emotional one.
Killer Companion opens handclaps and Adam Havlin’s warm, inviting plea to “say, say what you mean” on “Leave A Light On.” “Light” is a bright and buoyant song of understanding. It’s a song that asks you to take “a minute to breathe” and promises to “leave a light on” for you” that comes rolling in on waves guitar and bass that induce enough head bobbing to qualify it as a weight loss program.
“Save Another Weekend” doubles down on the head-bobbing quota set by the first track. “Weekend” is the showcase piece: a restrained and plaintive verse held down by a strong bass line, a soaring chorus with a chopping, syncopated riff and beautiful backing vocals to boost both the chorus and second verse. It sounds dismissive to boil down the tune to the pop-song playbook, but it’s so smack in line with it. It’s a stellar pop song—one that is just slightly better than the other eight on the record.
The only glaring issue I can find is one of sequencing. The seventh and eighth tracks are both nice ballads with running times over five minutes. As track eight, “Sometimes We Remember” comes to a satisfying conclusion. Everything feels final and then the opening chords of the bright rocker “Out Of Action” ring out and pull me back for one last song. Having one slightly less fulfilling conclusion after such a fittingly thematic one is a pretty okay problem to have.
John Schlotfelt was sentenced to five days in prison and had his cell phone destroyed for contempt of court after taking pictures of R. Kelly in a Cook County Circuit Court (a true story which may not have actually happened to him).