2016’s Retrograde took some time getting used to; aside from the band’s change in sound, there had also been too many dull, quiet moments scattered throughout the collection. As time passed, the shining sections did become brighter, but there was still that period of acceptance to overcome. With Sudden Sky, however, the evolution of the band’s sound has found more than solid ground – it’s on the rise. Despite its minor troubles – the introductory track, for example, is painfully read; not performed, nor captivating in any sense – this collection finds the faults of Retrograde and injects the cracks with the kind of energy that first propelled the band early in their career. As a result, tracks like “20/20” and “What I Am” explode with sincere emotion, leaving no question as to why they were made singles. There’s also the hypnotic catchiness of “Blurry (Out of Place)”; the cosmic, skipping-record vibe of “March of the Ignorant”; and the contagiously anthemic closer, “Sudden Sky,” to fuel the listener from track to track. Sadly, there’s only ten (nine of which are actual songs), but at least it’s safe to say that every one of them is worth repeated spins. Crown the Empire have recovered from their slight stumble, and returned with something hard-hitting and greatly satisfying.