ALBUM REVIEW: IMPERIAL LEISURE – DEATH TO THE ONE TRICK PONY
Not sure what the One Trick Pony ever did to Imperial Leisure, but this sophomore album forms a riotous call to arms. That poor pony is punked. I grew up in the same part of the capital as the band and remember their early gigs in various, nefarious down-at-heel North London pubs. They’ve come a long way – musically, if not geographically – with more rounded songs and more developed identity, yet still maintaining that frayed-round-the-edges, DIY aesthetic to the production.
The follow up to 2009’s ‘The Art Of Saying Nothing’, this new album pushes various buttons – ska, hip hop, rock… the tracks ‘All In Good Time’ and ‘I Thought They’d Love You’ even have a ballad-y vocal. But overall the vibe is pure North London: a thinner, more melodic Suggs tone to the vocal, jangling guitars jousting with horns that stab and swirl over songs like the instrumental coda ‘Song For Paul’, and throughout a thumping pace to proceedings.
Over the 14 tracks, the quality of the finished product ebbs and flows and the band are less convincing when they rock out on the likes of “Bitter & Twisted” than when they go more for the pork pie hat ska of cuts like ‘Number One’ or the tub-thumping, sing-a-long immediacy of ‘London To Brighton’. Having said that, remembering the charismatic frontman from those early gigs, that may be something they can reverse when playing live. And to that end, stick this one in your diary – April 21st – when they play the Roadhouse in Manchester.
The songs are punchy and uncouth, the language colourful and edgy, the accent of both the vocal and the music pure N13 and I’m feeling nostalgic. Time to run a warm tub, climb in and bathe in the luxury…of Imperial Leisure…
Release Date 02/04/2012 (Steamroller)