Imitation Electric Piano
Blow It Up, Burn it Down, Kick It Til It Bleeds
Simon Johns’ Imitation Electric Piano project won’t easily escape the comparison with his rest-of-the-time band, Stereolab. After all, the two groups share that same baroque-yet-jazzy, post/prog-rock sound. Yet on IEP’s second release they seem to focus more on the baroque side of it all. Organs, harpsichords, and a faux-angelic soprano (brought to you by Mary Hampton) are in the foreground while the synth bleeps and filter sweeps are left in the background. But, as neo-classical as that may sound, the very much hard-rocking guitar/bass/drum rhythm section pounding alongside the baroque gives this album a certain nowishness (Webster’s?) and grounds it squarely in the middle of the ’00s. The chorus of voices on “I Mean Now” seems to be all Hampton in multiple, overdubbed, cloned tracks and the filters on the harpsichords of “Come Into Force” and the organs of “What We Do We Do” sound more like digital reproductions or multi-sampled versions of the instruments rather than actual harpsichords and organs. With all the fittingness of their name aside –though you have to admit it’s a great name for this particular band– Imitation Electric Piano leaves us with some tunes that could not only rock a club, but maybe even rock a 17th century cathedral.
Drag City: www.dragcity.com