Pic - Natalie Curtis


Emperor Zero ‘Mental Health Café / Hispaniola’ (Sways Records)
7” / Cassette / DL
Released 28th February 2013

Words: Nathan Whittle

So them there SWAYS boys are at it again, firing missives from their bunker in the shadows of Her Majesty’s Playground Strangeways. This time it comes in the form of the fantastic new single from new-wave post-punks Emperor Zero.

This release has been a long time gestating, through the search for a new drummer and the tightening and re-working of the A-side, which appeared online in demo form around the time of the release of their debut single, ‘The Man With The Red Eyes’. That period has done them untold good as they get back on track with an intelligently written song that calls on the likes of Gang Of Four, The Fall and The Modern Lovers, a song that grabs you with a gloriously simple hook and a pulsating vocal line.

Emperor Zero are a diamond in the rough, an intelligent gang who steep themselves in history and literature, but are never ones to make you feel like a lesser being. Mental Health Café takes its inspiration from psychoanalytical theory, Sarah Kane’s play 4.48 Psychosis (as referenced on the single sleeve), and, as spliced throughout the accompanying video, documentaries by Adam Curtis. The B-side on the other hand, yet another glorious example of their penmanship, deals with Christopher Columbus’ atrocities on the way to discover the New World.


Always intelligent, never pretentious, always with their head in the clouds, but their eyes on the gutter, Emperor Zero are certainly one to watch…just don’t expect them to churn out tunes about falling bladdered out of nightclubs anytime soon.

Artwork: Natalie Curtis

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