Empire William CrightonThe bells are ringing. They signal that Australian music has a vibrant new voice.

William Crighton built a passionate following with his self-titled debut; it was largely word-of-mouth, built on his potent live show. With the energy and intensity of a Midnight Oil record, Empire builds on that momentum. It’s earthy and Australian, with a punk ethos and life-affirming anthems – “When you’re down on your knees,” he sings, “you gotta let love come first” – and the record closes with a compelling cover of Eric Bogle’s The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Like Tom Waits and Nick Cave, William Crighton is an original. But apart from that, he’s like no one else.

Empire is out May 4 via ABC/Universal.

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