The Emperors Of Wyoming Release Their Intriguing Debut
On Tuesday, The Emperors of Wyoming released their debut record, a self-titled album that has piqued as much curiosity as any project this year. A country side project of producer and musician Butch Vig and three other Wisconsin musicians, the band has managed to create a truly special album that combines impactful songwriting and musicianship.
The Emperors of Wyoming represents a creative departure from Vig’s normal course as a producer and musician with some of the most influential alternative rock bands over the last twenty-plus years. Along with Vig, who sits behind a drum kit and keyboard on the record, The Emperors of Wyoming are comprised of lead singer and guitar player Phil Davis, bassist Pete Anderson, and lead guitar player F.L. Anderson. Prior to crafting their current album, Vig and Davis had previously teamed as members of Fire Town, which also included Vig’s future Garbage band mate Duke Erikson.
The two elements of the band that truly stand out throughout the record are the outstanding quality of the songwriting and how well The Emperors of Wyoming fill those songs with excellent musicianship. This attribute especially reveals itself in “Cruel Love Ways,” “Brand New Heart of Stone,” and “The Avalanche Girl,” which contains slight Traveling Wilburys vibes.
Not an overwhelming “country” record, the Nashville influence of The Emperors of Wyoming surfaces more through the songwriting than the music. The band does ace that sound as well, however, most notably in “Cornfield Palace” and “Sweep Away,” where Davis sings, “You broke my heart and I broke yours too.”
A very good LP throughout its entire track list, the record draws to completion on an especially strong note by finishing with two excellent songs: a percussive “The Pinery Boy” and the ultra-cool “Bless The Weather.”
One of the most surprising attributes of the album is how tight the band is despite the fact that it was manicured in each member’s separate recording studios and assembled via file-sharing. The dispersed nature of the recording process does not reveal itself at any point in The Emperors Of Wyoming, making it somewhat of a marvel and underscoring exactly how good this band is.
The Emperors of Wyoming is currently only available as a digital download via iTunes and Amazon in North America and as a physical release in Europe.