Imperial Teen – Feel The Sound


Artist: Imperial Teen
Title: Feel The Sound
Record Label: Merge Records
Rating: 7.0

In recent years there has been an influx in sophisticated pop acts that blend together quirky electronics with crowd pleasing vocals. In the same mould as Passion Pit and Phoenix, Imperial Teen manage to straddle the gap between pop and eccentric by making accessible yet interesting pop music. Considering Imperial Teen released their debut album back in 1996, it goes without saying this quartet have influenced the current flock of synth meddlers.

The four piece from San Francisco are set to return to the spotlight with their fifth LP, Feel the Sound, which boasts a wide range of electronic flourishes, boy/girl vocals and pop hooks. Feel the Sound
begins with a collection of four entrancing songs. Opening track, ‘Runaway’, channels a combination of frantically struck hi hats and urgent keyboard stabs, twinned with soaring vocal harmonies. The
pace drops slightly when next track ‘No Matter What You Say’ begins, but what it lacks in pace it makes up for in a sultry, glacial sonic delivery.

The electronic pop influence is daubed across this album like heavy make up across a drag queen’s face, however, this isn’t to say Imperial Teen are one trick ponies, as ‘Last to Know’ carries a certain glam rock stomp about it, which nestles up nicely to a brooding vocal delivery.

Feel the Sound starts in such a strong and confident manner, but sadly the pace isn’t maintained throughout the remaining half of the album as the LP slips into sombre, almost lethargic format. This isn’t too say that the latter part of the LP is a complete wash out, ‘Hanging About’ incorporates some intriguing electronic touch points, where as ‘Don’t Know How You Do It’ trips along like a wistful cloud being pushed along on a summer breeze.

Imperial Teen have managed to encapsulate a snapshot of youth exuberance with Feel the Sound, however like many adolescents, maintaining an attention span can be the hardest thing in the world.

Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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