Empath's 'Soft Shape' Is a Song You Need to Know - Rolling Stone
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Song You Need to Know: Empath, ‘Soft Shape’

Philadelphia punk band returns with a woozy, catchy single from upcoming debut LP


Troy Memis

Empath made a big impression with last year’s Liberating Guilt and Fear EP, a radical 16-minute rush of basement noise and sky-high melody. It was an exciting tape to listen to, in part because it suggested so many possibilities for the future of this band as it continues figuring out its sound. What will Empath sound like next? The lead single from the Philly group’s upcoming full-length debut, Active Listening: Night on Earth, is a promising sign.

“Soft Shape” is the sweetest, catchiest song Empath have made yet. There’s a gooey synth-bass line, a whistling choir of what sound like theremins and a woozy lead vocal from singer Catherine Elicson. “Sometimes our bodies disappear,” she sings, her voice spiraling up toward the ceiling. “I want to be weightless, but not empty of all this/Who knew that would be so satisfying?”

There’s a light veil of distortion over everything, but the sound of the band is clearer than before — the same strange dream seen through a higher-resolution lens. Once I heard “Soft Shape” once, I immediately played it three more times. The video looks like a seance, and the song kind of sounds like one, too. This is pop music, Empath’s way.

Active Listening: Night on Earth is out April 2nd on Get Better Records, the Philly punk label that has released all of Empath’s music to date.

Empath Tour Dates

March 8th – Savannah Stopover Festival, Savannah, Georgia
March 9th – The Earl, Atlanta, Georgia
March 16th – Club Dada, Dallas, Texas
March 20th – Ace of Cups, Columbus, Ohio
April 5th – Dwell DC, Washington, D.C.
April 6th- Macrock Festival, Harrisonburg, Virginia


In This Article: Empath, Song You Need to Know


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