Review: Imperial State Electric – ‘Reptile Brain Music’
By Alle Royale
Driving in the foggy Po Valley could be an interesting experience to say the least; when you have to drive through it for almost three hours to see a rock n’ roll show, it does mean one and one thing only: that band is well worth it.
The band in question is Imperial State Electric, brainchild of the iconic punk n’ roll guru Nicke Andersson (Entombed, The Hellacopters, The Hydromatics, The Solution, Death Breath…) who’s bringing, with his trusted comrades, his high voltage verb throughout all Europe. The occasion is the promotion of the brand new album “Reptile Brain Music”, their third release (fourth, if you consider the explosive ep “In Concert!”) in few years; the manifesto of the relentless creative flow of this combo, a four piece so tight and cohesive they seem to play one single big guitar over your head!
That’s the overwhelming power of Imperial State Electric, and since I’ve witnessed it first person, I can confirm that’s the ultimate fun concert experience and the guys up there on the stage, they seem to have real fun too. The same euphoric tide pours out from the speakers of your stereo once you put “Reptile Brain Music” on, because this is, hands down, their best release so far.
If the first album was more of a solo affair from Nicke Andersson, and the brilliant sophomore effort “Pop War” redefined the rules of power pop for the new millennium, this new piece of work sounds like the quartet has finally found their real dimension: here, all the influences flow naturally and also the more typical traits of The Hellacopters’ style are brought back in the mix, for a final result that is as much melodic as it is riotous and dynamically powerful.
If you’re familiar with Nicke’s output throughout the years, you know exactly what to expect: from the Paul Stanley Meets Phantom Of The Stones feel of tracks like “Underwhelmed” and “Stay The Night” (sung by guitarist Tobias Egge), through the punch in the face of the title track (sung by bassist Dolf DeBorst), to the hot wheels ride of the pure Andersson style anthems “Eyes” and “Down In The Bunker”, the album is a fest of rock guitar histrionics and melodic hooks to rave for.
When tracks like “Dead Things” marries The Beatles with a southern rock flavour and a twisted dark mood, you know this band has the numbers to not run out of inspiration for the next twenty albums at least.
Rock n’ Roll couldn’t be in safer hands with Imperial State Electric, and now, after another three hours in the fog to come back home, I can sleep sweet rock dreams too.