Album Review: Imperial Teen, 'Feel The Sound'

4.5

IMPERIAL TEEN
"Feel the Sound"
Producer: Imperial Teen
Merge Records
Release Date: Jan. 31

Tagged as "alternative pop" for its entire 16 years, the two men/two women quartet cements its grasp on contemporary pop with an album keenly aware of party-anthem beats, easily repeatable choruses and mixes that are more high-end vocal than churning guitar, a trademark of the group's early sound. In the '90s, Imperial Teen sounded like a band whose younger siblings had found a rock career that they could emulate. Today the act takes a modern rhythmic approach to early-MTV-era new wave to create joyful rock. "Feel the Sound" is a playful effort that comes from an ease with pop hooks and power-pop chords, a knowledge of how to employ a steady beat that owes more to Feist than Foo Fighters. Punchy and spirited tracks abound: album-opening party-starter "Runaway," the subtly potent "Over His Head" and the lush made-for-the-end-credits rocker "All the Same." "Out From Inside" finds the meeting point of midtempo Squeeze and Prince's pop side in the mid-'80s, proof that influences that might've been too immediate when a band starts out can be retrieved to great effect 15 years later.

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