After nearly two decades together, what’s their left for a band to accomplish, or say that matter? Well, after spending the last few days with Feel the Sound, the most recent release by Imperial Teen, it’s clear that there’s plenty more to be done. There’s always been an infectious brightness to the band, and they don’t hold back on this effort, giving you 11 new tracks to which you can tap your toes.
“Runaway” doesn’t hit hard, but it hits you in all the right places. Guy/girl vocals, one of the band’s specialties, provides a certain sentiment of joyousness, propelling the album along in the precise manner one would expect. As the song rolls along, a smile will begin to spread from ear to ear. This approach seems to be the most successful on Feel the Sound, with songs like “All the Same” using steady drumming, precision guitar play and a penchant for a nice hook to keep us bobbing along with the group. Listening to the increased pace and stomping drums in the middle of the aforementioned track will have you seeing precisely why Imperial Teen have been able to win us over again and again.
Don’t think that the record’s just going to pound you with furious bubblegum flavor from start to finish, as restraint is definitely a forte on this outing. One of the standout tracks, “Don’t Know How You Do It,” really comes across as an indifferent jam, yet you’ll find that it slinks its way into your heart. Monosyllabic chants always get me, personally, but the effortless cool of the track itself reminds one of the great tracks by current label mates, Shout Out Louds. “Overtaken” has a much more melancholy tone for listeners, almost in the vein of mellow post-rock, which might come as a surprise for most fans. The lyrical line of “it’s overtaking us” provides in ominous mood, yet those soaring harmonies always make it hard to fall too deep into the darkness with Imperial Teen.
While there’s plenty to absorb, musically speaking, on Feel the Sound, it’s an interesting collection of tunes. None of these tracks are going to absolutely blow your mind, but there’s a certain playfulness that allows you to really get carried away in the listening experience. Take the brief, “It’s You,” with its sexy vibe and sprightly bounce and you’ll hear the sort of maximum enjoyment that band can offer up in a heartbeat. Whether you’re looking for a solemn tune, or something to lift up the spirits, this record really does have it all. A little bit of time, and you’ll realize exactly why Imperial Teen have been able to sustain such great longevity; the band’s just flat-out good, simple as that.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01-Imperial-Teen-Feel-the-Sound-Runaway.mp3]
Download:Imperial Teen – Runaway [MP3]