The empathy test in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is based on the premise that machines, no matter how advanced, lack compassion. But for childhood friends, Isaac Howlett (vocals) and Adam Relf (production), Empathy Test is all about wearing their hearts on their digital sleeves. With driving synth chords, punchy 4/4 beats and euphoric ‘80s melodies, the London-based duo take inspiration as much from modern acts like Chvrches and Purity Ring as they do from Vangelis and Depeche Mode. But far from sounding like just another ‘80s-electro reboot, Empathy Test have cultivated a mesmerizing and immersive identity which sets them apart from pretty much anyone else on the scene.
With an insistence on glorious hooks and instantly memorable vocal lines, Empathy Test are refreshingly unafraid to be pop music. Since self-releasing their debut EP “Losing Touch” in February, Empathy Test have picked up thousands of fans via sheer word-of-mouth and late-night tweets, and collaborated with Richard Swarbrick on numerous viral animation videos for ESPN and Liverpool FC. Empathy Test signed to Brooklyn’s Stars & Letters Records in the spring of 2014, with their follow-up EP “Throwing Stones” releasing November 18, 2014.