Whimsical label founders EMPORIUM were brought together in January 1998 when work commenced on their first album of home recordings A FINE FINE LINE, released on PEOPLESOUND the following year.

Formed in Edinburgh originally as a 3-piece, Emporium chose to remain studio based for much of the next 4 years, performing just a short series of gigs in the summer of ' 98. Around this time the song SLEEPING DOGS was receiving acclaim from radio in Scotland and indeed reached the year-end top 10 songs on BBC SCOTLAND's BEAT PATROL show, as published in NME the following January. Together with a 5-star review in GUITARIST magazine for HAPPY HIGH e.p (and cover cd), the hard work was paying off....

Over the next 18 months many songs from their debut collection were given airplay including DREAM DAY, ZOMBIE, and the 2nd ltd edition single ELEVATE which was a collaboration with FREDDIE PHILLIPS, best known for his work on the 1960's TRUMPTONSHIRE t.v programmes.

By the new millenium Emporium had notched up 17 radio plays including ZOMBIE on STEVE WRIGHT show (BBC WORLD SERVICE) and HAPPY HIGH on EVENING SESSION in Scotland (BBC RADIO ONE). A second batch of songs was completed in 2000 for the album ITS THE THOUGHT THAT GETS YOU HIGH including SALISBURY PLAIN , NO WAY OUT, and their first nationally distributed single EMAIL EDDIE, released on the band's own label and distributed in the Uk by Pinnacle/Shellshock on January 22nd 2001. This was followed on July 30th by the single LISA ON THE SCREEN which was airplayed in Germany, Uk, Holland, and America where it was also given a glowing review in Boston's Music Business Monthly.

The release of HALLUCINATIONS (11 track collection) on April 1st 2002 brought further positive feedback from various media, and scored ALBUM OF THE MONTH on POPSCENE (Netherlands) and PLANETE INDIE (Belgium) , where it was also ranked 3rd best album of the year from the 11 nominated albums. A single 'Sixes and Sevens' appeared the following October.

In 2003 Emporium were awarded a Scottish Arts Council Grant towards the recording of a forthcoming album. The new album 'Silver Brainwaves'(13 tracks) was released on October 10th 2005, and was preceded by a vinyl single 'Wasted' on June 27th. The single was eventually given a digital release via Itunes on May 15th 2006.

On April 2nd 2007, a remix of 'Dice Man' featured on the 21 track Whimsical compilation 'Elevate'.

During a four year sabbatical, Emporium took time to develop their own label further, contracting music for release and publishing to Whimsical and subsidiary PLATFORM RECORDS, yielding over 20 releases and winning critical acclaim with their numerous artists. A new business THE MUSIC ELEVATOR was also set up in 2010, this offering artists a release co-ordination service along with plugging to webzines and radio.

On June 13th 2011, the SILVER BRAINWAVES album was given a digital re-release while being re-promoted to various media, generating some fantastic feedback.

In 2012, Emporium returned with new tracks MINDBENDER and THE UMBRELLA SHOP, both of which feature on the 17 track compilation FROM ANOTHER PLANET - THE BEST OF EMPORIUM (1998-2011), the latter also released as a single.

A brand new 14 track Emporium album 'The Afterlife' was released on December 22nd, 2012.

A remixed version of MAGICAL THINGS came out as a single on November 11th 2013.

A free download of FUNERAL was released in 2014 via Emporium's Soundcloud page.

A new single 'Gloomy Shadows' was released on November 6th 2015. This is taken from album 'The Electric Emporium', released February 5th 2016 along with single 'The Uninvited'. The album includes collaborations with lyricist and poet Lee Brough on the songs 'Gloomy Shadows', 'Zebra Crossing' and 'An Appointment'.



Tracks: Zombie / Sleeping Dogs / Mother Nature Zombie - EP - Emporium

Tracks: Elevate (A Tribute To Trumptonshire) Elevate (A Tribute to Trumptonshire) - Single - Emporium

Tracks: Email Eddie / Fever Tingle / Seven Moons From Home Email Eddie - Email Eddie - EP

Tracks: Dreamer's Dead (single edit) / Amanda / Into The Dark (original version) Amanda - Amanda - EP

Tracks: Lisa On The Screen / Shine (single mix) / Into The Dark (mellow version) Lisa On the Screen - EP - Emporium

Tracks: Sixes And Sevens (2002 version) / Smoke / Blackened Blue (2002 version) / Sixes And Sevens (mellow version) Sixes and Sevens - EP - Emporium

Tracks: Wasted / Don't Be Alarmed Wasted (Remix) - Emporium

Tracks: The Umbrella Shop (Radio Edit) / The Umbrella Shop (Radio/Video Mix) / She Won't Come Out To Play The Umbrella Shop - Single - Emporium

Tracks: Magical Things (Single Mix)

Tracks: Funeral (Video Edit)

Tracks: Gloomy Shadows / Gloomy Shadows (Single Edit) / Gloomy Shadows (Instrumental Version)

Tracks: The Uninvited (Single Mix) / Magical Things (Original Mix) / The Uninvited (Instrumental Version)


Tracks: Dream day / Parody(full version) / Don't Be alarmed / Sleeping Dogs / Elevate (A Tribute To Trumptonshire) / Mother Nature / Happy High / Caroline / Parody(instrumental) / Low threshold / Dream Day (edited remix) / Parody (instrumental reprise) A Fine Fine Line - Emporium

Tracks: Listen To The Noises / Night At The Fair / She Won't Come Out To Play / The Panama Canal / 'A 'B' Movie / Seaside(Kids Play The Fool) / Email Eddie / Mystical Girl / No Way Out / Listen To The Noises (Guitarist Magazine Fade-out version) It's the Thought That Gets You High - Emporium

Tracks: Shine (album mix) / Zombie / Amanda / Salisbury Plain / Behind The Veil / Parody (edited version) / Fever Tingle / Lisa On The Screen / Dreamer's Dead (full version) / Lyrical Girl / The Downside Hallucinations - Emporium

Tracks: Intro / The Feeling / Dice Man / Wasted / Blackened Blue / Whimsical Theme / Mind Games / Wild Star / Rock For Sand / Fragments Of Knowledge / Mystic Angela / Baby Invisible / Sixes And Sevens Silver Brainwaves - Emporium

Tracks: Intro / Lisa On The Screen / Mindbender / Don't Be Alarmed / The Downside / Baby Invisible / Wasted / Amanda / Dice Man / Listen To The Noises / Mind Games / Elevate / The Umbrella Shop / She Won't Come Out To Play / Seven Moons From Home / Into The Dark (Mellow Version) / Choice (Demo) From Another Planet (The Best of Emporium, 1998-2011) - Emporium

Tracks: The Afterlife / Bluebell Wood / Distance / Mindbender / Magical Things / Static / Beautiful Insanity (Don't Fit In) / The Umbrella Shop / Cosmic Voyage / Return Of The Lost Tribe / Cascade Down / Killed Her / Funeral / Ending The Afterlife - Emporium

Tracks: The Uninvited / Gloomy Shadows / Teresa / Strange Daze / Zebra Crossing / Angel And The Dark One / An Appointment


Bonafidestudio (HALLUCINATIONS)
Relaxed vocal, easy listening, this album has so many of the hallmarks of classic pop. Good classic pop from Edinburgh.'

'Emporium have a pretty distinct sound and many of the songs on this collection are very radio friendly. There are the odd phrasings and sounds that bring the Beach Boys and Xtc to mind... Rather pleasant..'

'A kind of greatest hits from a band who havn't really had any hits yet. It all sounds quite dreamy and rather nice...melodic beauty...like 80's psychedelic demigods XTC. Which is probably a good thing.'

Phase 9 Entertainment. (HALLUCINATIONS)
'Keeping to the tradition of classic Beach Boys / Xtc style harmonies, Emporium have a way of producing instantly recognisable pop tunes with an air of familiarity that makes you sit and listen...With hypnotic harmonies and lush keyboard strings, this is complimented with sing-a-long choruses that get lodged in your head.'

Boston's 'Music Business Monthly' (LISA ON THE SCREEN)
'A delightful little pop tune which would have been a nice follow-up to 'Itchycoo Park' if Ian Mclagon(Small Faces) had got ahold of it. If there is a new British invasion Emporium intend to glide their way over.I like it.'

Edinburgh Evening News. (EMAIL EDDIE)
'A chirpy tale of boy meets computer. Sounds rather like BA Robertson meeting Belle and Sebastian for a nice wee lemonade.'

'Best for Music' magazine -single of the month. (EMAIL EDDIE)
'A bit Belle and Sebastian here,a bit Rezillos there...working extremely well...unique indeed.'

Listen.com. (LYRICAL GIRL)

'Buoyant sunny pop tunes from Scotland. Falsetto vocals wind in and out through mildly jerking dance beats and colorful keyboard accents while lyrics touch on personal themes with wit and irony.'

Reelscreen.com. (MOTHER NATURE)
'Scottish mayhem with swirling shapes and chilled beats. Let Emporium take you to their special place!'

Beat 106. (ELEVATE)
'It's brilliant,rather beautiful.'

BBC radio Scotland. (ZOMBIE)
'With Beach Boys harmonies,cute in its way' -The List.....'A very fine thing indeed.'

BBC radio Scotland. (SLEEPING DOGS)
'Extremely smart ,very very good.'

'Guitarist' magazine. (HAPPY HIGH)
'Melodic hooks are very much to the fore. A potential pop smash.'

'Making music' magazine (DREAM DAY)
'An enjoyable distraction...perfect pop.'

'Front' magazine. (A 'B' MOVIE)
'Whimsical pop with an adventurous sound. Promising.'

BBC radio Scotland.
'Some really cracking stuff.'

California's 'indieshop.org' (HALLUCINATIONS)
'The music is just brimming with greatness!'

Roughtrade.com (WASTED)
'The new single from emporium's 'Silver Brainwaves' album is the piano led indie anthem 'Wasted'. With a strong sense of melody and clinical but artistic production the song deserves to be a hit. The double A side is another fine little track named 'Don't be alarmed'. All in all this is a super little single from a band that are going to gain a lot of fans in the coming months.'

TWO summer-filled songs on lovely red vinyl which just brightens the mood. Like running through fields or sitting watching the water in a loch, this is music of happy abandon.
With the same fragile voice and melody structure of the best of Ian Broudie's Lightning Seeds, Emporium don't care if it's raining - every day is summer to them.
Sung with a Scottish accent like The Proclaimers, these two songs are the first new material for three years from Emporium.
But it's been worth the wait. Wasted is a psychedelic cross between the Small Faces and the Beach Boys with a swaggering rhythm and swirling melody.
Second song Don't Be Alarmed is tougher, but singer Ewan McKenzie's high-pitched voice keeps the distinct fragile quality that makes Emporium the natural successors to Teenage Fanclub rather than say Cosmic Rough Riders.
And the synth breakout that sounds like a Seventies television theme tune sample lifts an already amazing song into unforgettable territory.
Album Silver Brainwaves is due out on October 10 and, on the basis of these two songs, it should be well worth checking out www.emporiumtheband.com

The Rocker
Swathed in psychedelic stylings and Dave Greenfield type keyboard rumblings, 'Wasted' belies initial misgivings and becomes increasingly addictive.

‘a very relaxing melodic backdrop…… so far removed from modern day music they could be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.’
- Alternative Links.com (SILVER BRAINWAVES)

'This album is very structured with each song sounding unlike the previous one….Emporium have a decidedly personal style with skilful stirring organ sounds…. constructed around falsetto vocals and harmonies which reflect atmospheres of the Small Faces, Beach Boys, and in more recent times the psychedelic sounds of XTC…… it is pop-rock of excellent making.’’
Munnezza.com (Italy) 4 Stars (SILVER BRAINWAVES)

’Delightful freak pop’
Arch Records (Japan)(SILVER BRAINWAVES)

'Holy cow! All crashing electro drum beats, keyboard synths and poppy arrangements all rolled together with lashings of sixties atmosphere, Brian Wilson-isms and the dancing falsetto vocals. This is so far off my radar I'm not sure I could do it justice in a review trying to describe it. But I think I kind of like it and it feels a bit naughty.'
tastyfanzine.org.uk (LISA ON THE SCREEN)

'Nick Drake sprang to mind when listening to Ewan McKenzie’s voice. This certainly adds something special to the mix…..McKenzie’s voice is a definite plus'.
Glasswerk.co.uk (SILVER BRAINWAVES)

‘This album has to be the most bizarre collection of pop tunes I’ve ever heard. The songs are well structured, they are exceptionally pleasant to listen to’.

'This is the fourth album for this Edinburgh 3-piece.
Again, they don't disappoint by delivering some seriously cheerful but clever pop.
Cannot wait to see them in a London venue'.Bonafidestudio.co.uk (SILVER BRAINWAVES)

'Well it was recorded in Easter Road, so it has to be good. End of review.
Oh, alright then. The last time we encountered Emporium we said 'Swathed in psychedelic stylings and Dave Greenfield type keyboard rumblings'. Well the rumblings are still there, but there's an air of eighties synth homo-eroticism on the go. I would tell you it was like Soft Cell getting it on with the Stranglers while Brian Wilson watched from his sandpit but, frankly, who can afford the therapy from that kind of mental image.

For your buck you also get "Shine" which is much mellower, more Soft Cell meets the Mamas and the Papas and also "Into The Dark (mellow versio) which is end of the pier whimsical, a tad mad, and the most falsetto-ish of all the falsetto-ish vocals on offer.

It's all rather strange and eccentric but that's what people say about me, so I liked it. You won't hear many other tunes like these, so go get some.'
Zeigeist / Amazon.co.uk (LISA ON THE SCREEN - 4 stars)

I'm not sure of the place this album has in the modern world. After all, the outlet for XTC influenced electro-pastoral pop must be fairly limited. But at least when people point and laugh, you can hold your head up and say you followed your own path.

It's pop music from another planet with sixties keyboards, Beach Boys harmonies, ethereal falsetto vocals and slightly twisted melodies which give you the feeling that someone is looking at you through a telescope, unsettling but oddly exciting. At least for a while, until you get the restraining order.

It takes some getting used to, but is ultimately worth the effort, as songs like "Wasted" and "Mind Games" seep through your back brain in much the same way as late period Talk Talk did. The latter (my favourite) makes as good use of space and silence as Mark Hollis at his best - a rare compliment.

If you like to walk slightly outside the line, then this is for you.
Zeigeist / Amazon.co.uk (SILVER BRAINWAVES - 4stars)

Formed in January 1998, Emporium are an Edinburgh based band centred around the songwriting hub of Ewan McKenzie. With the release of WASTED from their latest long playing record SILVER BRAINWAVES, McKenzie carries on down the charming lo-fi road, delivering more upbeat melodic pop with its heart in the charity shop but its sights on the charts.

In the vein of Baby Bird and the like, WASTED is a shimmering pop tune thats all cheap casio keyboards, programmed drum beats, polite guitar work and whimsical vocals. Not unlike Belle And Sebastian on a much more limited budget, this is charming and sweet stuff, Ewan McKenzie singing in a fey vocal style that suits the musical backdrop perfectly. Backed by the equally charming DON'T BE ALARMED, another sweet pop song that gently caresses the senses, this is the kind of single that quietly creeps up on you and gently makes its presence felt.

While WASTED isn't exactly likely to change your life or start a riot, it is a charming slice of charming lo-fi whimsy that at least brightens your day somewhat, and sometimes in life, thats just enough.

Hailing from Scotland's capital Edinburgh, Emporium formed in the winter of 1998 and released three albums by 2002. 'Silver Brainwaves' was actually their fourth record, but has been given a second shot at stardom with a digital re-release. On listening I can understand why Silver Brainwaves didn't quite take off in 2005. With the likes of Akon, Crazy Frog and James Blunt dominating the Charts, Emporium's sound was just way before its time.

Cut to six years later, Silver Brainwaves should find an approving audience with its fantastical ethereal, trippy feel. It is a very unique listen and I myself needed multiple replays to fully appreciate the delicacies of each track accompanied with the easy-biting vocals. Although music is ageless, I would very much like to hear Emporium's new studio works as I am sure they have used their exceptional flair to polish and develop their talent further.

On this release, my personal favourites were Mind Games, Whimsical Theme, Fragments of Knowledge and Wild Star.
Jenness Mitchell   (3 stars)

Originally released in 2005 with sponsorship from the Scottish Arts Council, Edinburgh band Emporium have just digitally re-released their fourth studio album ‘Silver Brainwaves’. Formed back in 1998 and having released three studio albums by 2002, the three-piece have received much acclaim over the years from being featured on European radio shows to appearing on end-of-year lists for BBC Scotland. With ‘Silver Brainwaves’ not quite receiving the attention it perhaps deserved following its original release, it’s understandable why the trio have decided to give it another shot. The album features an almost 60s vibe and is fairly unique sounding, drawing influence musically from a number of different sources. Tracks like ‘The Feeling’ and ‘Dice Man’ are made up of lovely and interesting pop melodies whilst the piano-led ‘Mind Games’ shows a softer side. Ewan McKenzie’s vocals bring to mind a mix between Brian Wilson and Nick Drake and of course, the harmonies work very well indeed for example on ‘Rock For Sand’. The album drifts nicely to a close with final track ‘Sixes And Sevens’ which has some soft and slightly eerie instrumentation. Ultimately, ‘Silver Brainwaves’ is well-produced and a tad different; two factors which make it a worthwhile listen for anyone looking for something with a little bit more of an individual flavour.    (7 out of 10)


This band has a unique and yet hauntingly ‘familiar’ sound. This seems to be a very successful combination for huge bands of the past. I feel the "Brit" influence and almost hear a little Supertramp flavour, and that really makes the songs easy to digest. Great beats and rhythms, and when the vocals come in to tell the story you can really tell this group spent some quality time with the audio engineer during mix-down.

First up on my play-list was "Wasted". This one is nice. I liked the way it was put together and the beat was consistent. This song has a rich grouping of instruments and gives me a nice vacation back in time. It reminds me partly of the sixties and partly of the British invasion while floating a little bit around an eighties electro pop sound. It is difficult to say what the strongest influence is because the song is very unique and strong in its own way.

Next up was the song "Mind Games". This one seems a little somber and translates well with a powerful piano riff and some kind of ambient overlay. Very effective in a simple and understated way as well as entertaining, and the story makes you want to know more as it unravels. We all know there is no where to hide and this song gives a glimmer of acceptance while remaining independent. Very good track.

"Dice Man" starts with a simple yet strong vocal. This singer is very talented and sings on key without and apparent "auto-tune" effects -  refreshing as there are so many bands that attempt to do what this group makes seem effortless. That is the right formula if they expect to grow an audience. Another quality track by this band.

Overall, I would give these guys the thumbs up and recommend them to anyone who really appreciates great music. The time it takes to make a good record is well spent with this band and one can hear that they all know what they are doing. The talent is there, the unique sound is there, and these performers should have no problem gaining a solid fan base.

-Mr. Lee
CEO, Absolute Media   July 6th 2011


Sublime 1960's-influenced pop

'Silver Brainwaves', the inspired 2005 album from the Edinburgh based band Emporium, has just been re-released. Formed in 1998, Emporium centres on the songwriting of singer Ewan McKenzie. 'Silver Brainwaves', the band’s fourth studio effort is melodic pop, shimmering and engaging, exploring a similar direction to the work of bands like the High Llamas.

The song 'The Feeling' is warm and welcoming, very nostalgic and very 1960s, echoing the musical beauty of that classic era. The lyric expresses mixed emotions: “Something unseen is tugging at me… the feeling is dying.” Cautious optimism nevertheless accompanies an upbeat sound: “We’re looking for better days.”

'Dice Man' explores a repeated theme of luck on the album: “Go with the flow… Any way that you play, you just can’t lose.” Meanwhile, the sound, with lovely harmonies and layered instrumentation, brings to mind the influence of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

'Wasted' expresses hints of melancholy, while 'Blackened Blue” is moody and thought provoking. 'Mind Games' is likewise a sombre tune, with distinctive piano playing. The lyric reflects the tone: “Still the storm’s inside my head/It will linger till I’m dead.”

Emporium’s work has received some notable critical acclaim and their songs are at once sun-soaked, trippy and enchanting. Like the High Llamas, their music is more indicative of the 1960s and California than either the current charts or their U.K. home.

'Wild Star' tells the story of a shining girl who, burning brightly, “torched the heavens every night.” 'Mystic Angela' is distinctive psychedelic-tinged pop with flowing instrumentation. The band meanwhile captures a healthy touch of magic in the sound they create.

'Sixes and Sevens' is the mellifluous closer, returning to the subject of luck: “You can rest in heaven/You can toast in hell/It’s all sixes and sevens/How we know it so well.”

In the end, 'Silver Brainwaves' is a novel effort from Emporium and a worthy re-release.

Carl Bookstein   (4 stars)

This album is being re-released from 2005 and, on first listen; it’s kind of hard to see why.  The band hasn’t become world-beating superstars since then, no one member has gone on to win a Grammy.  Or an Oscar.  Then, it all slowly clicks into place.

The Beach Boys are finally giving Smile an official release after years in the vaults and this album has several sonic similarities with it.  Both are filled with guitar lines that are curved and long and seem to go on forever.

Both are also drenched in sweet harmonies that give your spirit a little lift every time the disc is spun.  This album is, effectively, one song spun over 40-odd minutes but when the song is as diverse in mood and style as this, then who’s complaining?

Beach Boys-influenced these guys may be but their own voice shines through completely in the effort and emotion on display here.  They have really become one solid (note: not stolid) unit who know how to give each other their own little moments in the sun.

And yet, they know they work best when they come together as a whole.  Which they do here, on many joyous occasions.  ****

©JONATHAN MUIRHEAD 2011  http://www.isthismusic.com/emporium

 *** Singles of the Week ***

Sounding not unlike something that might soundtrack a TV documentary about '90s Brit-pop - St. Etienne would, of course, curate the thing - Emporium's rather gorgeous ability to craft perfectly-honed melodies is certainly not in doubt with this - it's bloody lush. "The Umbrella Shop" (26th Mar - 4.5 stars) is a little bit Pulp (early), a little bit Cherry Ghost with a slice of Cud and a topping of Super Furry Animals. And that's all good. Very good. (4.5 out of 5)



You have to bear in mind that
Emporium are a band who've been active for
fourteen years and they now sound like, well,
they sound like Emporium. For the object of 
this particular exercise I can suggest that
sounds like Alan Parsons Project and The
Idle Race are in there, but 'Umbrella Shop'
is really the sound of Emporium in full, 
shifting, tinkling, drifting, psyche guitar
studded mode. 
IS IT ANY GOOD? It's lovely, Emporium are
lovely, you are lovely, buy the lovely record.

Emporium - ‘The Umbrella Shop’/ ‘She Won’t Come Out To Play’, Single

Beautifully sumptuous sounds, evocative, tender piano paints prettily sparkling motif, mellow bass, steely guitar, orchestral strings and brass, storyteller, choir boy, honeyed vocal whispers warmly illuminated night time tale, washed by gentle chorus, woven seamlessly together into atmospheric epic of gas lit London.

‘She Won’t Come Out To Play’, similarly fully orchestrated and chorused, swings between sunny optimism and melancholic, despondent undertow, maudlin vocal describing sad tale of girl who just can’t face the day. 

Both pieces, not structured songs, more sung narrative than poetically lyrical, melodically meandering, descriptive instrumentation, drawing on Classical idioms, showcase and support the star voice and its tale, could be from a, as yet unwritten, Musical score.

Scottish band Emporium kept layered progressive psychedelic pop harmonies alive, releasing a a string of albums and a couple of singles that garnered them rave reviews form the cognoscenti. The trio was basically a studio band, although they did tour for a bit in 1998. The band dropped from the radar in 2007 only to surface again in 2011 with the new album Silver Brainwaves. This year year has brought two new tracks so far: Mindbender and The Umbrella Shop (which will be released a single).

The 17 track collection From Another Planet - The Best Of Emporium (1998-2011) on Whimsical Records serves as handy introduction for newbies. Long time fans can plug the holes in their collection with the rare remixes and one-offs. It's hard to pigeonhole their sound, bur think the poppy songs of Pink Floyd ca. 1970 mixed with Beach Boys orchestral inklings dipped in Zombies-alike Odessey and Oracle melancholy.

Lead singer Ewan McKenzie falsetto gives their songs a pastoral quality that will go down well while lounging on lazy Sunday afternoon (or any other day of the week). Best enjoyed with a bottle of good wine and a basket of tasty tidbits.



For some reason I started off by listening to the latest single release, “The Umbrella Shop”. Described in Scotland’s premier tabloid as “a psychedelic cross between The Small Faces and The Beach Boys”. And for a second I glanced at the calendar and clock to see if time had stopped somewhere in the 60′s.

Emporium produce a retro-pop sound of sweet harmonies and melodies sung over luscious piano, string and horn arrangements, that are almost impossible to find in today’s music which is primarily constructed by loops, samples and beats.

They seem to have captured the essence of world renowned pop music composer, Burt Bacharach’s timeless music pieces, which were characterized by unusual chord progressions, striking syncopated rhythmic patterns, irregular phrasing, frequent modulation, and odd, changing meters.
Throw-in a vocal style which ranges from 60′s bands like the “Beach Boys” or “The Turtles” through to latter day acts like “Soft Cell” or even “OMD”. Plus add some Brit synth-pop rhythms, et voilà, ladies and gentleman you have Emporium!

Album highlights include, the watercolored harmonies of “Mindbender”, the beat momentum of “Wasted” and the slower, ethereal lead vocal of “Dice Man”.

My personal favorite track is the haunting “Mind Games”, while other tracks of particular note are “Elevate” and “She Won’t Come Out To Play”.

Seventeen tracks, is a lot of music and I could write page after page describing it, but music needs to be listened to. Needless to say, if you’ve experienced the 60′s musical era you would need no introduction to this album at all, and only have to enjoy it’s nostalgic karma.

However, if you, like many of our younger readers, belong to the new beat generation, my best suggestion would be to get over to the “EMPORIUM” website straight away and savor the sounds of their timeless melodies, set within a genre long gone by, and all but lost to modern music. If not for the stoic and solitary efforts of Scottish band EMPORIUM.


A 14 year anniversary? There seems to be no suggestion for a gift between tin at ten years and crystal at 15 years – perhaps that’s why the vocals gloriously meander around like a lost sheep inside the slightly proggy, psychedelic musical musings of ‘The Umbrella Shop’. Quite strange but not totally unendearing either. 6/10

Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland - Emporium have just released "From Another Planet - The Best Of Emporium (1998-2011)", a compilation of songs by the Scottish combo containing 17 tracks. 

The band has gained a great reputation in the United Kingdom (also covered in world-famous publications such as the NME) because of their very unique sound formula: beat pop (think The Small Faces and Beach Boys) with a psychedelic twist and very interesting arrangements.

Since the very first opening notes, the listener is brought hand in hand into a journey through the songs - the tunes build a very peculiar and dreamy landscape with a very unique vibe that fascinates and intrigues greatly. 

Although the band proclaims 60s influences, an 80s touch is also intelligible, while a more modern approach to melody is part of the picture too, infusing the music with great personality. A superb testimony of over 14 years of music!

Edinburgh, Scotland-based whimsical pop trio Emporium, celebrate their 14 years of being together by releasing this compilation of seventeen-songs. They also added a new track into the mix, entitled The Umbrella Shop. [Check out the music video here.]

Their vintage-esque sound reminds me of a mix of a more-psychedelic version of The Sea and Cake, with hints of The Catherine Wheel, Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode. 

I had the opportunity to interview Ewan yesterday, his answers were very refreshing and interesting to read. Always good to get to know the band a little more:

Briefly introduce yourself, and the band:
I’m Ewan, and currently I am ‘Emporium’. There was a fixed line-up at one time - in the early days. We played gigs for a while, but then the guitarist left to re-locate, and we continued as a duo for 5 years (with Brent Inglis on Bass), really as a recording outfit but also because we both enjoyed playing music so much, and the process of recording/production. We both really believed in the songs, and felt they deserved to be heard. We knew we had an original sound, and saw the potential to stand out from other artists .I’ve recently been recording completely on my own, I wanted to challenge myslef, so decided to make the next Emporium record effectively my first solo album. 

In no particular order, list your top ten inspirations, even if they’re not musical:

The Countryside (especially in Scotland)
Universal spirituality (NOT religion!)
Old films (especially 70’s)
Watching the stars
Strange Chords which have no name 
Paul and Linda McCartney’s RAM album (the greatest album ever released)
David Icke

What are your thoughts on the current status of the music industry?

Where the major labels are concerned - absolutely dismal. They’re not interested
in the art of songwriting anymore, it’s just a production line. They have ‘writing teams’ who can’t actually write proper melodies - they are incapable. It’s very ‘cliquey’ and the whole process is driven by money (obviously). They keep signing more of the same drivel, over and over again. Young singers are too easily influenced by other singers (their singing style) and have become copycats. Lack of originality in general. Style over substance in many cases.
And of course there are the TV talent shows and a particular mogul who has so much to answer for. 
Technology and modern recording methods have also spoiled music production and have allowed people with no or minimal talent to make records.
It’s all like a dreadful cancer.
Creatively, Independent music is as healthy as ever, but in a sense has never been as so suffocated as it is now due to the dominance of Pop and RnB via the major platforms . So much fantastic music stays under the radar because the industry over-all is driven by money, power, style and politics. 

I noticed on your site that you released your latest album “From Another Planet..” on Whimsical Records. What are your ties to the record label, if you wouldn’t mind explaining?

Started Whimsical in 1999 as a label for Emporium to release our music. 
In 2005, following completion of the album ‘Silver Brainwaves’, I decided to develop the label by signing other acts, initially for singles deals. We also started a publishing business (Whimsical Songs) as well as a label servicing business (The Music Elevator) which comprises release co-ordination and promotion to media via subsidiary label Platform Records.
We’ve had some independent chart success in the UK and noticeable airplay and reviews with various bands and artists. 

What’s the music scene like where you live in Scotland?

Pretty good, although Glasgow (Scotland’s biggest city) tends to dominate.
Scotland has always punched above it’s weight musically (within the UK) and there’s a rich creative pool of talent here. It’s frustrating too though, as traditionally acts have had to go to London to ‘make it’ via a major label. There are lots of independent labels here though and bands with ‘cult’ followings. Superb live venues and festivals - some of the best in the UK. 
If Scotland gets independence (and I hope we do), then the music industry here will be forced to expand - have more of a ‘self contained’ business with improved infrastructure, then Scottish bands could make much more of an impression in Scotland initially (via tv/radio/charts) before venturing outside of their own country. 

What would you hope people think about when they hear your music?

Evocative, planetary, beautiful, unexpected, dreamy, moving, uplifting, stirring, bizarre, intelligent, hypnotic, sumptuous and atmospheric.

Have you ever bought an album for its cover? Which one? 

NEVER have, never would either.

What’s one place/venue in the world you’ve always wanted to play?

No-where in particular. 

What’s your least favorite thing about being in a band?

The politics and closed mindedness of the industry which prevents the music
from reaching it’s full potential. 

What’s your most favorite thing about being in a band?

Creating music and the escapism of it. 

In your opinion, what’s the best way for a band to make $ these days?

Licensing their music (e.g to an advert, film or computer game). 

If you could go back and change anything in your career, what would it be?

Wouldn’t change anything.

Do you feel like you sell more music online or at shows?

Haven’t recently played shows, so rely on online sales.

How do you feel about the new “facebook timeline”?

Don’t like it. They’ve gone and changed it for reasons which remain a mystery.
Makes it more difficult to navigate, and it’s particularly unpopular amongst musicians
I hear, for the purpose of e-commerce and building a fan-base.
Myspace destroyed their website for musicians a while back, and now Facebook. Maybe it’s deliberate? Who knows? If it aint broke, don’t fix it I say. 

If you could interview any musical celebrity, alive or dead, who would it be?

Billy Mackenzie (the late lead singer of The Associates)

Who inspired you to sing?


Any advice to up and coming bands?
Be as original sounding as possible - try not to be heavily influenced by any particular 
band or singer. Don’t EXPECT to ‘make it’ or to earn much money, regardless of how talented you actually are - as there exist obstacles of politics and bias which can put a stop to you having a thriving career. 
Be in a band because you love music and genuinely believe in what you are creating. If you don’t then there’s no point, unless of course you are part of a money making machine which has nothing or little to do with the art of music, but that’s all so far removed from where I’m coming from with Emporium, I can’t identify with it. 
Bottom line: Make music for YOURSELF to enjoy listening to (music that you would ideally like to hear) - then if anyone else likes it, it’s a bonus! 

Do you all play in the band for a living?

No, we’ve all had other jobs in addition. For me, currently it’s Music Publishing and Promotion.

I noticed that you guys have known each other for a really long time, how did you meet your band mates?

When we started out, through other bands and adverts in music shop noticeboards.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “U.S.A.”?

Cheerleaders, that’s all. (No offence intended). 

This is like Teenage Fanclub, They Might Be Giants, and The Beach Boys, and a sprinkle of the Pet Shop Boys. I really like it. The music sort of reminds of children’s television shows, but morose. I don't know if its my aforementioned love of Scottish indie that makes me like it (although I don't think that it would work if Mumford and Sons had Scottish accents). This is good well crafted indie pop, and much better than the artwork makes it look. http://www.collective-zine.co.uk/reviews/?id=8473
On listening to The Afterlife, I’m not sure whether we are in the 60′s, 80′s, 90′s or the 2000′s. Emporium draw from an enormous bucket of influences. At times I hear The Walker Brothers or Paul Weller’s Style Council, then maybe Julian Cope’s The Teardrop Explodes or The Housemartins and even traces of The Beach Boys. It’s sixties, its Britpop, its post-punk, its mod, its new romantic…the only thing for sure is, its indie.

This is without a shadow of a doubt a fine album. Lyrically it holds its own, rich with feeling, and its upfront, self-confessional honesty, is inspiring and reaches elevated heights both artistically and emotionally. The songs are beautiful and the singing and harmonies on the album are superb.

Standouts are the album opener “The Afterlife,” the languid ballad “Bluebell Wood,” the track “Magical Things,” “Beautiful Insanity(Don’t Fit In)” and the piano-driven “The Umbrella Shop.”

Music, like all art, is a medium of communication and never has communication been more pure and enlightening than this. The lush, melodic sound of this album is so rich and entrenched that it seeps into the soul of the listener.

“The Afterlife“ which is a colourful collection of largely nostalgic sounding songs, in my opinion has many surprises, curious tangents as well as both soul and beauty in abundance. Tracks that re-treat older ground with a fresh new view. Like a lot of timeless music, it sounds deceptively simple at first but hides a musical complexity which gently unfolds as much as you, the listener, let’s it.

Emporium bring superlative mid-sixties pop, fast forward and straight into today. They migrate a mix of Burt Bacharach and Phil Spector sounding orchestrations into now, and throw in their swirling vocal harmonies to match.

“The Afterlife” is a different kind of album, unlike most you’re currently likely to hear, and through it, Emporium transport our musical nostalgia into the future.

Rick Jamm
Hailing from Edinburgh, Emporium started out in 1999 with their debut album "A Fine Fine Line". 

Going on to release several albums and numerous singles, they show no signs of slowing down as we dive into a new decade of the 21st century, crafting a brand new album, "The Afterlife".

Emporium bring back their signature tunes, drenched deep into a pool of influences that encompass the past decades of music, from the gripping melodies of British invasion pop to garage rock grit and 70s psychedelic trips.

Think Pink Floyd and Genesis meeting half way with the Beatles and The Zombies, and you start to have a great hint of where the sound of the band is headed, but it doesn't stop there, and this record is far from being an operation to cash in on nostalgia. The band does not only demonstrate these influences with their own unique personality, but they bring them up to date with our age, "upgrading" the vintage vibe with a massive, wide soundscape.

Edinburgh based Emporium have been on the go since the late nineties, when they put out their first album, "A Fine Fine Line". It's been a bit stop and start since then, but here there are with another fine batch of sixties tinged pop songs.

It's the kind of rosy, psychedelic tinged material that delights fans of XTX and Garfields Birthday, with nods back to the harmonies of folks like the Beach Boys. In fact, it's the harmonies that really make this album as even on a couple of the lesser songs, they pull things right round. Add is some excellent arrangements and orchestrations, and it always ends up listenable.

However, when the songs live up to the harmonies and the arrangements as they do on the title track, the fabulous ballad, 'Bluebell Wood' and the single, 'The Umbrella Shop', it really is a delight. They avoid most of the pitfalls of the indie scene by remembering that writing good songs and singing them well is what makes a record.



This is a band that isn't "happening", hip or otherwise. Longevity is the keyword here, a band carving a niche outside the mainstream with layered songs about going nuts in a gentle way (Mindbender) and being afraid to go to sleep (Magical Things). The Afterlife might not be skyscraper, but it is built to last. Emporium is waving the flag of smart pop.

http://blogger.xs4all.nl/werksman/archive/2013/01/02/801734.aspx (HERE COMES THE FLOOD)




RELEASED? Out now.

SOUNDS LIKE? Is a question that has more answers than either of us would like and without being even lazier than usual, I can tell you most of what you need to know about Emporium by saying that top notch, eccentric, pop and pomp-pop and dance-pop and quirko-pop all co-exist in the weirdly coherent and consistent sound that is Emporium. Of course, Emporium would probably hate the idea of being consistent, even when placed near the word 'excellent', but screw 'em, I've already spunked a weeks worth of hypens on one sentence.

IS IT ANY GOOD? Please listen to them, Emporium are very, very good, I even looked up how to spell 'seminal' and they've split up now, so even more seminal.

WHERE IS IT? www.whimsicalrecords.co.uk



Scottish band Emporium announced their break-up in December, have left us with a final album, ‘The Afterlife’, which was put together by the band's lead singer Ewan McKenzie. The songs for the album were written and recorded between 2010 and 2012, and after they released a compilation record, 'From Another Planet - The Best of Emporium', in the spring of last year. They relive the 70’s psychedelic voyages of their past on ‘The Afterlife’, but it is immersed in a sea of other influences as well us that includes Britpop and garage rock and also throws in various 80's synthesiser melodies from decades gone by. 

Originally formed as a three-piece in Edinburgh in January 1998, Emporium released their first album, which was made largely from home recordings and entitled 'A Fine Fine Line' later that year, but they chose to remain studio-based for most of the years that followed that. They have released various other recordings, including critically acclaimed albums such as 'It's the Thought that Gets You High', 'Hallucinations' and 'Silver Brainwaves'

On first listening, I couldn't fathom out where we were musically. Were we in the 60’s, 70’s 80’s, 90’s or noughties? The sound was so diverse, yet held together quite nicely with spatterings of Spector’s wall of sound or a smidgen of Weller or a trickle elsewhere of 80's electronic bands such as Blancmange or OMD. 

Wherever they gleaned their music from, it certainly takes its roots from the 60’s and Britpop, but it also had its feet wading in the New Wave and Futuristic movements.

The album itself won’t break any records, but don't get me wrong here. This is an album you will keep coming back to again and again as its lyrics and themes are totally addictive. Despite all their retro influences, ‘The Afterlife’ is very much about the feelings of today. Many a time I (and perhaps you as well) have thought I was going off the path a little and starting to go a bit crazy, and the piano-driven 'Mindbender' nails that feeling for me with its lines of "Making me think/I'm trying not to break/ In case you crawl beneath my skin." 

The message of the synth-laden title track is brought home from the start with a distorted answer phone message at its beginning - "Welcome to the afterlife/Life has flashed before your eyes." The simple things we all suffer from time to time like suddenly wanting to just go to sleep sometimes and not knowing why is brought to life on 'Magical Things'. Other standout tracks include 'Umbrella Shop' and the short but enthralling dreamscape instrumental, ‘Return of the Lost Tribe'.

While they may not break any records with ‘The Afterlife’, it should however raise a few eyebrows with the critics and pick up some more well-earned final applause for Emporium. And quite rightly too.... 



'GLOOMY SHADOWS'  - single released November 6th 2015 - PRESS RELEASE:

Emporium have an eclectic collection of recordings and releases behind their back. Their music is kaleidoscopic and diverse, as they keep finding new ways to express themselves through a broad sonic palette.

Originally formed in Edinburgh but now London based, composer and producer Ewan McKenzie is finalizing a new Emporium mini album and working towards some live dates with a full band.

New single Gloomy Shadows is a very engaging track. On one hand, the title might suggest a dark and mellow mood, whereas the song is actually pretty cheerful and uplifting.

The melodies and tempo have a very 60s feel, with a slightly psychedelic pop twist. This song makes me think of The Beatles jamming with Tangerine Dream.

Emporium have once again managed to come up with a catchy track that still has depth in terms of arrangement and composition

(Peter Vidani)idani)

''Right from the opening synth melody (and not just any synth melody, but one which might just make you well up) it’s obvious that this is a band that can propel you to just about any emotion they want to. There’s something of the 80′s about it as well, the poles apart of indie pop Orange Juice (even maybe Belle and Sebastian, you might think) standing shoulder to shoulder with synth poppers like Yazoo, and even OMD. More than that though, its got a tune that’s as touching as it is memorable. It’s little pieces of loveliness like this that soften the post-holiday blues.'' (FUNERAL review on BackDeatMafia)

''A song that gains strength and leans on its verses and choruses to build an astonishingly impressive structure, as simply framed as a dome, and as difficult to knock down, is hard to come by in modern-day music. Emporium is a must for anyone who feels that most other popular musicians have taken a wrong course down the existential interstate.'' (GLOOMY SHADOWS review on Jamsphere)

''Ewan McKenzie, the resident genius of Scottish indie psychedelic pop project Emporium, has a habit of polishing and tweaking his songs with utmost care. It's a cumbersome and lengthy process, but it pays off handsomely in the end. The new single The Uninvited blends The Smiths' Weltschmerz with layered keyboards and a hint of brass. McKenzie manages to sound shy and confident simultaneously.'' (THE UNINVITED review on Werksman Blog)

'' its this heart melting melancholy that the most attractive thing. It ebbs and flows, the (faux) strings soaring overhead as the melodies are sweetened by layers of vocal harmonies.'' (THE UNINVITED review on BackSeatMafia)

''an amazing record; that it has been composed, played and produced in 2015, to my mind, makes it pure genius!....The group goes off the handle in nearly every track, taking the lyrics, harmonies and atmosphere beyond the top, but it works on all accounts. Every song fits into the fold nicely, and I would have to agree that this as a five star album all the way. From the moment the album’s second single, “The Uninvited”, kicks things off, the recordings are packed with bits and pieces of eccentric, harmonic lullabies from electro-pop to neo-psychedelia sounds. It’s an amazing album that trances you in every bit of every song....This is music that will stand the test of time. The songwriting is top notch and the music euphoric. Though retro in its origins, the music of Emporium manages to evoke sounds from some kind of higher, future universe where everything glows and sings in harmony'' (THE ELECTRIC EMPORIUM review on Jamsphere)

 ''He is a painter, adding layers to create a picture where technicolor an darkness are taking turns at getting the upper hand. Neither of them can ever claim a decisive victory and that's a good thing. The inherent tension is a sure fire guarantee for undivided attention from the listener''  (THE ELECTRIC EMPORIUM review on Werksman Blog)

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