Imperial April return with peppy sounds cherry-picked from across decades of genres culminating in the short and sweet 9:30.

Diving straight in with playful synth bass and power chords, 9:30 is a light-hearted monologue of a mind paralysed by making the wrong choice. The fun and carefree lyricless interlude seems to suggest a sort of momentary bliss found in procrastination, before returning to the cycle of overthinking and inaction. Winding guitar lines give way to a burst of frenetic energy as guitarist Andy Knopp lets loose on the Whammy pedal.

Imperial April Everything Is Okay single artwork

Everything Is Okay

From the Billy Corgan school of pop, and the sense of abandon that formed many of the 90’s bangers we all love, comes Imperial April’s latest slacker sunshine-grunge ballad, ‘Everything Is Okay’, along with a monochromatic official video.

Drawn in by swaying jangly guitars, bendy melodies, the cute, minimal lead-guitar lines, out shines an anthemic, fuzzed-out chorus combined with sweetly-sung ethereal vocals that are impossible to get out of your head.

The bittersweet track is very much self-reflective; “The song is about grappling with feeling like an outsider, trying to rationalise away those thoughts and then sometimes just having no words to describe what you’re processing”.

Streaming links here:

Oh Denial

Brimming with vibrant summer energy, Oh Denial is the fourth song to be released from what is shaping up to be an album of singles from Christchurch based newcomers Imperial April. With jangly electric guitar arpeggios, punchy bass and a solid beat holding it all together, Oh Denial has nods to Sleater-Kinney, The Strokes, and Best Coast. Front-woman Victoria’s sweet vocals lament the undying battle between head and heart, and address unwanted yet familiar feelings. The accompanying video is a simple and colourful affair made by the band, staying true to their DIY roots. Clocking in at just under three minutes, the track is short and sweet but packs a lot in.

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Release Me

Following on from their sunshine grunge lock-down release Peachy and ‘absolute blast of a track’ Tonic For Your Boredom, Release Me is the third single from Christchurch based Power Pop act Imperial April. The song jumps straight in with a pulsing synth bass that lends a streak of new wave to the track. The sweet vocals delve into the disconnect between wanting to see significant change and the denial, apathy and lack of personal commitment that so often smothers those noble intentions, often leaving us waiting for someone else to create change or make things better.

The candy coloured, new wave inspired music video featuring alt-country songstress Katie Thompson and alt-pop powerhouse Emma Dilemma was filmed on a whim when a low key night with friends was escalated quickly with a menagerie of cheap wigs, false eyelashes, bed sheet backdrops and guitars.

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Announcing itself with a squeal of guitar feedback, Imperial April’s ‘Peachy’ is built upon a foundation of fuzzy bass and fat drums. Victoria’s biting vocals cut through with thoughts on the perils of comparison and the need for vitamin D. The playful video was recorded during the Covid-19 lockdown and makes good use of their internal garage. The DIY aesthetic delivers an excellent debut for this DIY band.

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Tonic For Your Boredom

The second single from New Zealand band Imperial April, Tonic For Your Boredom, kicks in with a super thick guitar tone offering up a quirky riff. The vocals begin “Frozen, but time is still in motion” implying a sense of arrested development. The video, filmed in their home town of Christchurch, showcases some of the city’s finest garage doors.

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An April Christmas (EP 2020)

Christchurch Power Pop act Imperial April ushered in the festive season with their collection of Christmas inspired songs, making up An April Christmas. As an advent calendar of sorts, the 5 songs became available over five Fridays leading up to the EP’s full release on December 11. Equal parts tongue-in-cheek and legitimately festive, the songs each focus on a different side of the silly season.

Unabashedly festive, I Love This Time of Year announces its arrival with church bells. The driving song revels in the tackier side of Christmas, declaring a love for terrible christmas cracker jokes and cheesy holiday movies. A defiant shout pushing back the grinches of the world with holiday cheer.

Present Anxiety, with it’s jangly guitars and wiggling synth, unpacks the dread that so often accompanies the impossible task of buying the ‘perfect’ gift for a loved one. Once a year when Michael Buble ushers in the Christmas Apocalypse of frenzied consumerism one should stop and ask themselves if putting their credit card in debt is really the best way to show love to another. 

Wouldn’t Trade This Christmas
Fuzzy guitars weave in and out of each other before giving way to a familiar scene for most; Long Christmas day journeys to go have inevitably awkward conversations with distant relatives or family friends. But despite Christmas being an uncomfortable experience for many, it is often the one time of year we make the effort to reconnect. I wouldn’t trade this Christmas for anything at all.

Christmas Star begins with a warped, finger picked guitar melody that sets the scene for the song. The lyrics follow a character for whom Christmas is a reminder of another life. Like so many others, this time of year is no longer the source of joy it once was. The chorus finds our character at the end of themselves, with no other options other than to wish on a shooting star to turn their life around. By the end of the song the sparse arrangement is augmented by a flurry of atmospheric instruments bringing a beautiful chaos to finish things.

Very Merry Christmas 
For the 11% of humankind who live in the Southern Hemisphere, the snow filled Christmases of Macaulay Culkin are replaced by sunburnt necks and barbecues. The descending chimes and palm muted guitar frame memories of hearing carols in the summer heat while sadly being geographically distant from loved ones. Very Merry Christmas is for anyone who has spent the holiday season separated from family.