May 2, 2002

Test Spin: Imperial Teen

Print More

Some people may violently disagree with me, but the most important ingredient in the Strokes’ stew isn’t The Stooges or The Velvets; it’s the Blondie. That winning pop aesthetic: simple, steady rhythms that make you dance while driving (sometimes dangerously). Imperial Teen use these same devices to compelling effect on their latest, taking the formula even one step further by adding some gorgeous boy/girl harmonies.

Roddy Bottum, Lynn Perko, Will Schwartz, and Jone Stebbins all share instruments and vocal duties, but it is Bottum and Schwartz’s fittingly flamboyant lyrics that make for the most fun here (i.e. Schwartz’s line in “Our Time:” “the girls dressed in leather/ and the boys are wearing feathers/ it’s our time”). “Baby” is pure new wave bliss, hand claps and all — “I love baby, baby is a dog/ What’s up, maybe baby is a god” will be in your head for weeks. “Undone” slows down a bit, but is no less infectious and “Mr. & Mrs.” possibly contains On’s catchiest chorus. Dance and drive safely!

Archived article by Ben Kupstas