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May 23, 2024

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Imperial Teen
On (Merge Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Imperial Teen writes infectious, bouncy pop songs that are effortless in appearance. They flow so gently, one to the other, as the band joyously cranks out each beautiful nugget time and time again. It's like a bunch of friends got together, had some fun jamming, and the end result is an unintentional pop album that has you bouncing and dancing to melodies while the hooks sweep you off your feet.

"Baby" is a lo-fi, slightly buzzing pop gem that has you clapping along with it, as the female backing vocals swim in your head as the male lead vocals melt you away with their slightly sexy, slightly stylish tint.

"Our Time" showcases the band's ability to blend AM radio pop bliss with fuzzy indie rock, as the guitars create a light roar with the rhythm section providing the dance offerings. Then there are the shimmering keys that twinkle each time a note is played, reeling you in more and making you fall head over feet for the energetic, seemingly easy head-boppin' beats.

"Undone" finds the band sitting back, writing a less energetic, but equally infectious song, bordering on a slow ballad, as the trickle of guitars spread like a stream of water across the floor, while the vocalists harmonize, providing a soothing, slumbering bed for you to lay down on.

"Teacher's Pet" will get your body moving once again, as the lo-fi assault finds you treading through loud guitars and an agitating rhythm section pushing it to the max. "City Song" will have you singing along with its perfect 60's pop flow. And the closing track, "The First," will find you floating in the air as you get a completely relaxing pop cloud to fly away on.

A strong indie-rock album that spins lo-fi, 60's pop, and plenty of guitar-driven indie-ness in one mesmerizing package; I'll give it an A.

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