Though Philadelphia’s Empath have been championed in The Guardian for the wantonly freewheeling verve of their gigs, and celebrated across numerous other publications, it remains that the part-psych, part-punk quartet have nowhere near the level of praise they deserve.
‘Born 100 Times’ – produced by Jake Portrait of Unknown Mortal Orchestra – is the band’s first new music since 2019’s Active Listening: Night on Earth and should surely take Empath a step closer to much deserved prominence, with the track’s supremely infectious duelling of melodies. While steeped in an incredibly organic feel – recalling the band’s intensely communal origins – and the free jazz-tinged drumming tour de force throughout, vocalist Catherine Elicson’s urgent and joyous delivery gives ‘Born 100 Times’ a firm direction through the wild noise-psych landscape.
Contrary to the almost avant-garde elements at play in some of their previous material, as well as their live shows, the new track’s brilliance was achieved through relatively primitive means, Elicson explains:
“‘Born 100 Times’ is structurally very simple, consisting of a couple of hooks and a verse sung overtop of two repeated chords. I imagined a restructured pop song, having it start instantly with the hook and then eventually reaching a verse.”
The track was released alongside beautifully, and rather aptly, DIY visuals which contrast the insular reflection in the lyrics with themes of communal celebration:
“The video began as an idea Randall had of us showing up with cameras at the New York State fair. There’s something beautiful and nostalgic about a fair we wanted to try and capture. Two friends, Halle Ballard and Johnny Costa, filmed us having real, uninhibited fun running around, eating fried food, absolutely dominating the carnival games, drinking countless wine slushies, getting spun around on rides, and just enjoying being together. It was a much needed night of leisure at the end of a long summer spent preparing for the next phase of Empath.”
Empath are currently exhibiting this next phase supporting Modest Mouse, Future Islands and Fucked Up in the US. See the visuals for ‘Born 100 Times’ below.