Seven years have now passed since the release of Imperial Teen's massively under-valued Feel the Sound album. That record was one of my favourites from that year, a textbook example of contemporary pop, and one which seemed to puncture the bubble of gloomy indie and rock which was the zeitgeist. They've finally returned with a new album, Now We Are Timeless, which firmly re-establishes them as trail blazers of this intelligent, but fun electro sound. And whilst in 2012 their sound was against the grain, in 2019 there are at least a few bands that seem to have learnt from Imperial Teen's distinctive pop sensibilities (I can hear it in Stealing Sheep's superb Big Wows and Charlie Bliss' rip roaring Young Enough to name just a couple). This is actually Imperial Teen's (comprising Roddy Bottum, Will Schwartz, Jone Stebbins, and Lynn Perko Truell) sixth release in 20 years and whilst the band are by no means prolific (they have numerous other projects on the go after all) they always come back with something special.
Now We Are Timeless actually begins on a slightly down note, with the atmospheric, distinctly breakuppy "I Think That's Everything", it's a slow and inconspicuous start but is offset by track two which gets back to the no-shits-given pop that the band are known for. The gang mentality chant of "We Do What We Do Best" couldn't be more fitting for a band that seem to know their strengths and know how to unleash them to maximum effect. "How We Say Goodbye" is a particular highlight here and is one of those tunes that seem snappy and carefree until you delve a bit deeper and realise it's not as jovial as you first imagined (see pretty much every Beautiful South song).
Other peaks include "Don't Wanna Let You Go" which is classy and minimal with a riotous 80's rock chorus and "Ha" with it's driving Velvet Underground verses. The album is rounded off with "Timeless" which is beautiful and epic to a degree not a million miles away from Mercury Rev or The Flaming Lips.
Now We Are Timeless, as the title suggests, is the sound of a band traversing the genres and pulling out something which is relevant and, most importantly, thoroughly entertaining.