Empty Space Orchestra certainly knows how to fill a room. The Bend, OR quintet of impeccable musicians crafts a symphonic, melodic sound that seamlessly weaves together elements of space rock, prog-metal, noir jazz, post-rock and afro-punk all in one massive blast of energy. Their 9-song, 50-minute self-titled debut album is a hook-laden marriage of heft and harmony that veers far away from the navel-gazing jamming often associated with music of such explorative origins. Elements of The Mars Volta's most frenetic moments merge with soaring post-rock of Russian Circles, as well as hints of Deftones, Dub Trio and lilting chamber pop all colliding in brilliant synergy from one song to the next.
The group of classically-trained musicians is anchored by the stunning power and precision of drummer Lindsey Elias -- clearly a musician soon to hold rank amongst her most celebrated male counterparts. Guitarist Shane Thomas and bassist Patrick Pearall provide a balance of head-bobbing riffs interspersed with tasteful and inventive lines that weave like musical narrative throughout. Meanwhile, multi-instrumentalists Keith O'Dell (keyboards, piano) and Graham Jacobs (saxophone, flute, synths) add myriad melodic layers and cinematic moods that often deftly counterbalance heavy riffs with glissando piano melodies and swaggering horns.
The disc was recorded at the popular The Hanger Studios in Sacramento, CA with engineer Robert Cheek (RX Bandits, The Deftones, Tera Melos) and mixed by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Pearl Jam, ISIS) at Red Room Studios in Seattle, WA. Since the band's inception in late 2007, ESO has built a devoted and rapidly growing fan base in the Northwest exclusively on the weight of their highly memorable live performances. While the album perfectly showcases the band's musical precision, it must be noted that ESO is an extremely loud band -- quite possibly the loudest band you will ever see with a saxophone on stage.