I'm struggling to understand how people who loved his first album are only giving this 1 or 2 stars. It is a great great album no question about it.
The first was very much a lo key folk album with great melodies, amazing finger picking, and superb lyrics. It couldn't have been improved on in that sense and the style of that album clearly wasn't something that Fionn wanted to replicate on this one.
Shadow of an empire is a much more varied and concise effort. On songs like Coat Hook, Violent Demeanour, Lines written in winter, Lord Help my poor soul and the title track his songwriting and lyrics are better than all but a couple of songs on his first LP. The much more apparent presence of an accompanying band does not detract in anyway from the fragility and beauty of his voice and lyrics.
Don't get me wrong I love his first album but I also love this one just as much. Don't listen to the people who can't recognise the greatest songwriting talent around at the moment. As for being ''the most disappointing album of 2010 thus far'' (according to one reviewer) I think this person needs to check their hearing!!