Monday, 19 December 2011

Imp - 'Sewerpop! How The Castle Was Stormed' Review

Philophobia Music

Imp are one of the oddest bands in Wakefield. I don’t think they’ll mind me saying that. Despite having seen them numerous times over the past… God, maybe 5 years, I still don’t ‘get’ them. By which I don’t mean I don’t like them, I mean simply don’t understand how they ‘are’.

Live, they are the ultimate expression of the runaway freight train; it MUST fall off the rails right? Any minute now, I’m sure of it. I don’t know how they write songs, they just seem to filter them into existence, each member playing their version of some half remembered childhood nursey rhyme. Or a vicious argument conducted in 5 different languages. The brilliance - and the reason most people cant take their eyes off them - is that it simply works, the perfect wall of reason at the centre of the storm.

Following on from last year’s ‘Just Destroyer’, which was a bit of a direction change, yet a positive one, ‘Sewerpop!’ sees Imp get their pop back. I thought that’d just be the PHOP hype machine churning me a line, but it’s spot on. ‘Just Destroyer’s instrumentals are gone and we are left with a sharp, urgent kaleidoscope of fractious battle to ponder over. The wandering guitar lines find their separate shapes, head out on explorative drives in country but make it back in time for the chorus. Drums and Organ hold it all together really, smart rhythms and lines. The vocals sound better than ever, the sweetly shouted hooks the horse in the glue that ties this band together.

‘The Timings All Wrong’ opens with some odd seaside soundscaping. Suggests they’ve gone real prog on us. But it’s just a warm up. The free flowing tempo and odd beats here break you in to the wandering dynamics across the record. ‘Back From Battle’ and ‘Sharkbay Nevermore’ are the beating core of this quick trip into Imp’s world. Generally, it’s a less riff-tastic record than the last, but better for it; instead a warm glow, a concise widescreen account, a smiling room, a lost letter found.

As with the music, it’s hard to tell what is going on with the lyrics, the ideas, the themes (if there are any) seem to wash over, leaving more of an impression than a firm idea. I think that is what Imp excel at. They are a pop band; the dirtiest most disturbed pop band, that tie the oblique and the half-seen, the half caught conversation and the swamping drunken declaration in a direct and sumptuous package. They don’t do it by stepping into our world, taking a look around and spewing out a reply; it is purely on their terms. You must go to them and step inside their minds. I cant recommend that, admittedly terrifying prospect, highly enough. Sewerpop! Is the best thing they’ve done thus far, though I’ve still honestly no idea ‘what’ it is they’ve done, let alone ‘how’.

Dean Freeman

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