Empty Lungs’ work ethic speaks for itself. After all, this is a band who’ve not only trodden down the same route of poverty and lineup instability as many who’ve come before them, but also homelessness and the isolation from the rest of Europe’s DIY scene that comes from being an underground band from Ireland. Still, ploughing ahead has paid its dues, seeing the band chosen to support acts like Alkaline Trio and Japandroids, becoming the first Irish act to play Florida’s punk Mecca The Fest, and being the first European act signed to Canadian label Hidden Pony Records.
Clearly the demand and groundswell for Empty Lungs is greater than ever before, which leaves it slightly perplexing as to why their new EP Don’t Get It is only three songs long and falls south of ten minutes. That’s not inherently a problem – better to concentrate your best efforts than spread them out too thinly – but even so, it feels like there’s a lot more that Empty Lungs aren’t showing here. Forget the overused journalistic trope that it “leaves you wanting more”, Empty Lungs genuinely do leave you wanting more, especially since there’s a lot that this band can do that’s only ever teased on here.
As for the songs themselves, they’re the main factor in why only three tracks just doesn’t suffice. As far as indie-punk goes, Empty Lungs aren’t anything revolutionary (though a bit more emphasis on the punk is a nice touch), but they get a lot right here especially in their penchant for some really sticky choruses on the title track and Fragile. As for the lyrics, they fit in the mould of criticising modern life without being nearly as curmudgeonly as they could. Forgive Losing It. Finding It. for sounding a bit too much like The Enemy and there’s a spring to it for some really populist flavour, and Fragile‘s assertions that life is still worth living regardless of how difficult it gets ring a lot truer and more down-to-earth than the vast majority of Warped-core bands peddling the same message.
It’s the sort of EP that makes it clear why Empty Lungs have been progressing at the rate they have; there’s no pretension or agenda, just a handful of strong songs with a genuine message that connect astoundingly easily. Time will tell how much of a shelf life Don’t Get It will have compared to any subsequent releases, but look past the meagre evidence on offer and there’s a fresh, new talent here that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
For fans of: Twin Atlantic, The Social Club, Sløtface
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Don’t Get It’ by Empty Lungs is released on 10th March on Hidden Pony Records.