I shouldn’t write reviews when I’m tired and cranky, but then I’d only write while drunk and that turns out bad for other reasons. It’s just that when I’m in a poor mindset I tend to be unnecessarily cruel. So I’m going to try to be as even-handed as possible, but I’m listening to Imogene’s self-titled album and I’m bored. I hold this album directly responsible for my boredom. So much for being nice, but fuck it.
Apparently Imogene started as a power trio, but has recently added keyboardist Gabe Cohen. I think the power trio roots are really where my problems arise. I believe that this might be why all the songs tend to sound very similar. On tracks one, three, four, six, and eight the guitar track could be swapped between them without a noticeable change. It’s loud and it has a lot of reverb. Similarly, the vocals don’t really vary from song to song either. Singer David Melbye intones his lyrics with a soft, whispery voice on pretty much every song. It’s not bad, just repetitive, hence my boredom.
The band infuses the power pop sounds with a bit of funk and psychedelia. There is probably a way to do this and create a new and interesting sound, but here it just serves to make the album sound dated. Seriously, I felt as if Imogene would break out into a cover of The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight” at any given point. I used to love The Guess Who back in high school, and this album takes me back to a very dark and shameful place.
Sometimes its fun to write a savage review that goes on for pages, but I’m going to cut this one short. Firstly, I don’t want Imogene coming after me with a hammer. Also, they don’t deserve it. The most important reason though, is that I feel my brief description covers the entire album. I’ll even run through it again, in case you missed it: loud, crunchy guitar; soft singing with some psychedelic keyboard, and a funk bass line. Put all these ingredients together and repeat it for about twelve songs. Nothing left to say.