They bring to mind a new truism--when you see an opening act that is really good? The headliner has tons and tons of confidence. If an opener comes out and warbles some tunes off key and them pisses themselves onstage? Indicates the headliner is a) not real confident b) for some other reason wants no competition.
Van Hunt apparently wasn't worried about this because Empress Hotel could easily satisfy an audience as the lone act. It is to be hoped they will tour as a headliner soon.
The live show rocks more than the EP. But the EP songs do not NEED to blaze and rock you out of your shoes. They are catchy pop tunes and as I try to write about what they sound like all I can think of is that in any art where words are involved good writing rules. You do not need to be profound necessarily you need to write words that fit what is around them.
If they make you think, miss your ex-girlfriend or want to go join a street protest? So much the better but "good writing" doesn't mean it has to be akin to Bob Dylan. You Shook Me All Night Long is also good writing. It would sound stupid if ACDC used that music and wrote about the plight of aboriginal peoples.
Musically the lynchpin in one song might be the modeled sound of a Fender Rhodes, the next blazing guitar riffs and another subtle, almost reggae-esque bass line. They move their sound around to make each song unique but never out of place.
Ultimately they are just a really good live band and with both the show and their EP come an inescapable realization; they have just scratched the surface.