EMBLEMATICS – Festival Door

Canadian Indie Rock band, EMBLEMATICS have just released their latest single, Festival Door. For lovers of that late 80s, early 90s British pop rock, this may well be one for you. I could really feel a lot of influences from the likes of OMD, Pet Shop Boys and in particular, Blur (this song reminds me in places of their song “Common People”.)

I like the development in this song, the pizzicato strings are a nice touch that come in fairly on in the song. There’s some swirling keyboards, bass, drums, electric guitar and backing vocals to back up Michael Yun on lead vocals.

I’m drawn to how prominent the bass is in this track. It’s not a problem and it doesn’t make the sound muddy. It sits well in the track and feels as though it is the driving force of the song. Even more so than the drums.

This song has several different sections that lead in and out of each other well. Sometimes when a song has differing sections the resulting changes can be a little jarring. Not in this case. Festival Door leads comfortably from section to section. There’s a particularly cool breakdown section that has mainly just vocals and keys that builds back up into the full band sound.

Photo credits: Sara Kuefler

Sitting at almost five minutes, Festival Door isn’t likely to be a big hit with commercial radio. The repeated bassline starts to feel familiar to the listener after a while and in places this almost feels more like a soundscape than a song – perhaps something to be considered for TV sync placement.

I felt in places, especially during the sections with a lot of instrumentation, that the vocals got a little lost. It seemed as if there was a lot of competition for the same frequency range.
My recommendation would be to look at creating more stereo in the overall track, especially in the vocals and drums. This would help give the track a little more width. I’d also consider using EQ and panning to help separate out the instruments better.

Festival Door somehow manages to conjure up memories of early 90s England for me, and for a band from Calgary, Alberta, that’s a pretty impressive task.