Imperial Leisure - Death To The One Trick Pony Album Review

North London mob Imperial Leisure kick into spring with their sophomore effort Death To The One Trick Pony.

rating: 2.5

Facebook : Website : North London mob Imperial Leisure kick into spring with their sophomore effort Death To The One Trick Pony. School friends and friends from youth, mutually raised on a diet of ska, punk and hip hop, with influences cited varying from The Specials and Madness to The Beastie Boys, Jurassic 5 and Rage Against the Machine. They€™ve been steadily building buzz with a hefty touring schedule which has brought about support slots with the likes of Less Than Jake, Gym Class Heroes, Roots Manuva and the Sugar Hill Gang just to name a few. Tied alongside that, they€™ve been breaking the festival circuit, hitting up Glastonbury and Camp Bestival, whilst playing guerrilla gigs in the car parks of Reading Festival amongst others. So with album number two their riding in on a wave that could break and fall back or keep building up to something ready to cause real damage. The album opens with the short intro track Clown At The Funeral, and it€™s a promising start. Slowly building on a haunting atmosphere like the darker ends of Ghost Town by The Specials, it fills in from the steady and constant ska beat and guitar, with a multitude instrumentation intensifying the track and the simple repeated vocal line. Once it€™s in full swing and the brass is out in force, this looks likely to be a modern sounding and gritty ska album. Track number two, Number One, keeps the momentum going with its stop start and off kilter rhythms, a generous blend of synth and brass and guitars flicking between typical reggae stabs and the kind of riffs you€™d hear bands like Baddies knocking about, and the kind of synth blend with this and minor keys bring to mind The Ghost Frequency. The vocals too bringing to mind this style of late 00s post punk/indie, punctuated and accented. Dancefloor furthers these comparisons but ups the dance-ability (as you might expect), the tempo and introduces some more opposing dynamics between sections. Can€™t Lie brings to a mind a more organised and restrained version of, the way ahead of their time, The Cardiacs. At this point the songs are enjoyable enough to not let the €˜I€™ve kind of heard this done before, quite a few times before€™ feeling take over too much and it€™s fun enough, some good rhythms, texture and a couple of nice hooks. To help fend this off the band slow things down for All In Good Time, taking the current template they€™ve been working and applying it to a softer, sadder song, a ballad if you will. It doesn€™t really work though, the melodies and instrumentation are nice enough, but it€™s kind of lifeless and a little limp. Dead Model tries to bring things back around but it€™s not really any different than the tracks you heard previously, bringing to mind to myself personally Polka Party, who were doing the rounds with this kind of sound a couple of years ago, minus the brass and ska sound mind but this kind of angular/post-punk/indie/whatever has done its fair share of rounds. Though of course the ska, the brass and the synths are nice add on, they€™re just not enough to distract you from the fact that otherwise, this isn€™t really anything new and in itself the album is kind of samey. There are dalliances of course, with the previously mentioned All In Good Time, and tracks like Thin Line and I Thought They€™d Love You, that try to swing with an emotional punch but they miss the mark and just fall flat. The rest of the album kind of repeats the same tricks then, flicking back and forth like it€™s variety, but it€™s not. I mean Bitter Twisted starts off promisingly, it€™s all in your face pulse and tension (albeit sounding like The Ghost Frequency and Baddies again), catchy and dark but you kind of switch off the moment an unashamedly stolen Bloc Partyriff drops after the two minute mark and isn€™t just pinched as a one either. The album is littered with little ideas, little melodies, great brass, nice synth textures and some good rhythms, but they€™re spread too far apart on an album that€™s longer than it should be. Same too unfortunately for originality, there€™s not enough present here to stop you harkening back to those days gone by of bands that took the schizoid songcraft of Test Icicles and fixed it to the post punk pop sensibilities of Bloc Party. The one trick pony isn't dead yet.
Want to write about Imperial Leisure, Death To The One Trick Pony and Reviews? Get started below...

Create Content and Get Paid


Life's last protagonist. Wannabe writer. Mediocre Musician. Over-Thinker. Medicine Cabinet. @morganrabbits