In 2007, Imperial Teen addressed the obvious on The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band: it’s different being an adult in a rock band. Five years later, the band gets over its mid-life crisis and makes a statement with Feel the Sound.
Opening track “Runaway” is the gateway drug to the rest of the album. Nearly all of the other tracks are growers. It takes a few listens to appreciate the slightly obscured vocals and the slow simmering fuzz of songs like “Hanging About” and “The Hibernates,” but “Runaway” is an instant hit.
By the time the intro to “Runaway” ends, you’ll be ready to burst out dancing even if you’re serving detention in your school’s library. The energetic percussion and keys seem to take control of the body and force a smile. It’s exuberant and freeing. This song can blast away your baggage for 3 minutes and 29 seconds.
It’s nearly instant addiction and listeners will come back for more and that’s when they’ll discover the rest of Feel the Sound is pretty compelling even if it never matches the exhilaration of the opening track again. “Over His Head” is the album’s first shift to a darker tone and is reminiscent of dark 1980s noir splashed with neon lights.
Feel the Sound gradually slows down into the final track, “Overtaken,” which is rich with harmony. The early songs on the album made the listening made the listener feel their energy. This one makes them feel its weight. With that, Imperial Teen accomplishes the album title’s goal, mid-life crisis be damned.
Feel the Sound is out now on Merge Records.