With their signature melodic vocals, driving guitars and punchy rhythm section, power pop act Imperial April release their self-titled debut album, and it’s been worth the wait.
On their first full length album Ōtautahi indie-rock outfit Imperial April deliver a more complete picture of their sound as they subtly push at the boundaries of their previously released music. The 12-track collection of songs offers a fresh take on the genre, offering high-energy anthems as well as introducing an introspective and reflective side to their music.
The first single Peachy was released way back in early 2020, and in what the band call “a personal highlight” was featured on The Project amid the global standstill of the pandemic. The high-energy track packed a punch, with a catchy melody, infectious energy and pop punk edge that had them compared to Courtney Love, The Beths and Garbage.
Between then and now we’ve seen a handful of singles, a Christmas themed EP, and a band lineup change. So what’s taken so long to get the full album out? “Versions of this album have been floating around on harddrives and CD-Rs for what feels like an eternity. It’s kind of hard to remember that putting my voice front and centre on anything felt so alien, but it was a huge mental hurdle,” writer, producer, and frontwoman Victoria Knopp says. “Between the pandemic making live shows unpredictable, producing and playing for other bands, and life just doing what it does, we blinked and 3 years had passed.”
“I can feel a scream from inside of me..” lead vocalist Victoria sings as she struggles with keeping up appearances in the focus track Peeling Away. Musically, the anxiety in the lyrics is echoed by a melody that leaves no room for breath, weaving around the ceaselessly moving chord changes resulting in a sound that wouldn’t be out of place on Weezer’s Pinkerton. Floating above fuzzy guitars, Victoria’s delicate voice stays intact at the front of the mix, like a shelter in the chaos. From the New wave inspired Release Me to the lively Strokes-esque Oh Denial, each track is a meticulously crafted gem, leading listeners on an unforgettable journey. Lyrically, the album delves into themes of anxiety, meaning, and human connection, with tracks like Baby Blue leaving a haunting impression that lingers long after the music fades.
The band already have a number of high profile shows under their belt, playing before New Zealand legends Stellar* at Go Live Festival, and wowing audiences at the Christchurch Midwinter Session in Wolfbrook Arena and summertime favourite Nostalgia Festival. Make sure you catch them at their Album release show at Space Academy in Ōtautahi | Christchurch with support from Emma Dilemma and Best Bets on November 4th (tickets here).