Recently I have discovered a stellar group hailing from Chicago, IL by the name of Rival Empire. Creating a synth-pop meets indie rock meets electro dance sound all of their own, the group takes a page from such bands as Cut Copy, The Killers and Friendly Fires, with a dab of Duran Duran to boot. Rival Empire have recently released their video for “Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo” which had me immediately hooked and ready to dive into the recent self-titled full length.
On Rival Empire, the record features 13 electrifying tracks that subtly blend genres, to create a dance party on its own terms. The record opener “Cameo Crush,” stopped me dead in my tracks. The vibrancy of guitars and synths that blend are surrounded by singer Steve Rivera’s smooth and prominent vocals. Songs like “Casio Crush,” which bursts with modern sounds and 80’s nostalgia respectively, helps set the tone for the record.
An immediate stand out song and favorite proves to be “Calling Me,” which takes the record to a whole new level. The dreamy vocal combinations with slight harmonies are heavenly and is laced with melodic hooks. Songs like “Good Love,” “Tidal Wave,” and “Open Fire,” add a deeper, darker element to the album, while “Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo,” and “High Fashion,” take you on wild musical journey. “Call the Adapter,” and “Paybacks a B___h” adds a funkier element into the album, making a nice transition in to blending genres. Something that Rival Empire does flawlessly. “Calling Me (Orchestral Remix)” closes out the record, making Rival Empire, an album to remember for 2014.
Grab the album on BANDCAMP
Check out the video for “Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo” HERE.