Death To The One Trick Pony
26 March 2012
by Tomas Doyle
It’s funny how sometimes one bands breakthrough into the relative mainstream can remind everyone of something that was always good but that has simply fallen out of fashion. The King Blues rise and rise has thrown a fresh light onto the UK’s ska punk scene and kids are once again digging out their parents old Trojan Records box sets and embracing the brass. That can only be a good thing because we have a fine tradition of great ska punk bands in this country, the likes of Jesse James, Capdown and Adequate 7 all spring to mind, and now Imperial Leisure are throwing their hat into the ring to join these names and take advantage of the ‘ Blues recent success.
The shower gel sound-a-likes new full-length, Death to the One Trick Pony, has less of the immediate aggression or overt anti-establishment rhetoric which has become The King Blues calling-card, but nonetheless bares occasional sonic similarity to some of their softer moments (think ‘Lampost Light’ or ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’). Overall though the sound is more old school with some of the laconic vocal delivery and stomping beats sure to find favour amongst those who grew up listening to second wave ska giants and the punk of The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers. There are even occasional nods to more modern indie-ism, the main riff of ‘Can’t Lie’ reminiscent of Bloc Party’s ‘Helicopter’ in its screeching deliciousness.
The song writing has a quaint and eccentrically British feel to it with melancholic musings on growing up, falling apart and of course the now de rigeur punk album mention of going to Brighton to visit the seaside (Dear punks, we get that you love it down there but please stop going on about it). Whilst these songs rarely culminate in choruses that stamp on your chest or grab you by the throat the cumulative impact of thirteen exceedingly consistent tracks allows Imperial Leisure to sneak up on you with some really lovely bits of warming good-for-the-soul mellow (and occasionally not so mellow) punk rock.
Watch the video to ‘London To Brighton’ by Imperial Leisure:
This is a decent little album which will fire the imaginations of those who aren’t afraid to see a band revisit this sort of traditional ska and punk sound but add twists from a broader palette and deliver it with an undeniable earnestness. At their best (as they are here with the yelping ‘Bitter and Twisted’) they are capable of fine blasts pogo-able fun, and although Death to the One Trick Pony lacks the stand out flair and lyrical élan which has cemented King Blues’ rise and rise this is an LP that will only improve as the summer rolls around and make a fine addition to your (or your dad’s) record collection.
Sounds Like: The Skints, Random Hand
Standout Tracks: Bitter and Twisted, Dead Model, Thin Line