Imperial Teen | Feel the Sound

Merge (2012)
By DAN WEISS  |  January 24, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

Imperial Teen

Remember how Spoon were supposedly the most consistent band of the 2000s because they made four skintight albums that didn't offend anybody? Apply that theory to two-girls-plus-two-queer-identified-guys (including Faith No More's Roddy Bottum), and you have the much hookier, not-so-teenage Imperial Teen, who have been around long enough both to soundtrack a Rose McGowan flick (Jawbreaker's perfect slo-mo villain entrance "Yoo Hoo") and witness their label score an Album of the Year Grammy (Arcade Fire's The Suburbs). The four albums that Imperial Teen made in that 1996-2007 stretch are flawless: nothing but three-chord, three-minute nuggets of quietly subversive bon mots ("You're fucking movie stars?/Well, I'm fucking congressmen") that deploy synths and doo-doos only as necessary to maintain flawlessness. If that doesn't sound interesting, then you don't want to hear the flawed version. Like its title, fifth album Feel the Sound is as generic as doubters have probably always assumed — they sound both relaxed and exhausted. It's hard to get mad at this disc despite the four-year wait, and longtime fans will stick around to dig out the percolating charms of "No Matter What You Say" and "Last to Know." No bad songs, but any other record they've made is better.
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