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O Emperor Vitreous
Released 14 June 2013
Producer O Emperor
Label Big Skin Records
Length 29:15
Website www.oemperor.com

Once described as Ireland’s version of Radiohead (mainly due to the diverse, complicated song structures) – Waterford’s O Emperor are back with a brand new second album entitled Vitreous... and it’s a blinder (if just a little too short).

Vitreous follows up their critically acclaimed and slightly underrated debut album Hither Thither which was released back in October 2010 through Universal Records. It’s great to see this time the lads are doing their own thing and releasing it on their own Big Skin Records label.

Vitreous certainly wears its influences well. It opens with the slow burner 'Grandmother Mountain', a detailed blend of keyboards, synths and finely tuned guitars reminding us of Pink Floyd at their best. Lead single 'Holy Fool' quickly follows. This sounds like a close cousin of Tame Impala’s 'Elephant' with its driving bass lines and drums. The slower tune of 'Whitener (Part 1)' has a 'Baba O’Riley' intro sound to it and slowly builds into a fuzzed up, scuzzy guitar solo.

Half way through this very short album (at just over 29 minutes) comes the standout track 'Contact'. It appears, hidden round a bend beneath the dark skeletons of the previous tracks and simply put – it’s a stunner and easily the best track on Vitreous. Paul McLoone certainly thinks so too as he has being playing this a lot on his Today FM radio show.

There’s a great mixture of heavier songs (like the aforementioned 'Contact' and the aptly titled closer 'This Is It') and quiet songs (like the John Lennon-like piano ballad 'Soft in the Head' and 'Minuet'.

Overall Vitreous is an excellent album, I loved it . . . but . . . it’s hard not to feel a little short changed. The album is just too short. O Emperor have taken the Radiohead King of Limbs route and released an album that’s about two or three songs too shy. I really wanted to give this album top marks and if they had have had a few other tricks up their sleeves maybe I could have.

- Leon Byrne