I gave Imperial Teen a five for their last album, The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band, in a PopMatters review subtitled Just add water. That was five years ago, but now they're back with a record that I really, really like, Feel the Sound ....reviewed at Dusted today:
Feel the Sound
The last time that Imperial Teen broke a five-year hiatus, with The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band in 2007, it was a bit of a letdown. The old peppy exuberance was stretched thin, the subject matter apologetically drawn from midlife. It sounded like the four principals had gotten distracted by the trappings of maturity and were unable to commit fully to the bubblegum joys of power pop. Sure, there were some good songs, some catchy boy-girl harmonies, some cheeky, in-your-face lines, but the album never caught fire. The band kept reminding listeners of all that had changed over the half decade, never really honing in on what had stayed the same: their fixation with the music.
With Feel the Sound, they’ve left the distractions behind. This fifth full-length, as the album title suggests, is all about the sound. Digging deep into the most elaborate power pop traditions – ELO and the Beach Boys seem like prime reference points – Imperial Teen crafts a super-clean, super-sharp, inordinately complex collection of songs that, nonetheless, go down like cherry cola.
You can stream the whole thing at Spinner now.