Empty Space Orchestra are a band that explore the gamut of what is possible when playing incredibly organized instrumental music, yet still be able to cause a few surprises. On their self-titled album (this is their second album), there are elements of rock, punk, jazz, blues, heavy metal, ska, funk, and classical. One way to compare this would be to say “take all the penultimate bits and riffs from some of your favorite songs, and just make songs out of that. This is what ESO are about.” Yet that reduces them to nothing more than a highlight reel, and these guys are more than that. Some of their songs remind me of how intricate Frank Zappa was with his bands throughout the 1970′s, where you’re unsure where things are going but you put faith in the musicians because they at least know where they’re going. This is that type of band where you want to rock the fuck out and go crazy, but the sounds coming through are so intense that the nerd in you wants to stand in a pit and be able to take in the energy from fans who are into their music. It feels explosive and out of control, not unlike those highs Sunny Day Real Estate used to create. Tracks like “Get Some”, “Tiger Puss”, and “Exit Strategry” sound like everyone in the group (this orchestra is actually a quintet) wanting to cram their influences in and they deal with a common ground that’s quite pleasant to listen to. It’s not as chaotic as Mr. Bungle were, but one could easily hear Mike Patton singing about macaroni and aloha shirts over instrumentals like this, as a Dixieland piano enters the room.
In other words, Empty Space Orchestra are a group who want to fill the void that is that empty space, and they’re doing it until it goes over the rim with the rich taste of… sound.