Imperial Teen continue to expand upon their already rich musical palate of pop music with hooks that bite, melodies that soar and songwriting that reveals itself to be much more than sugar coated pop confection.
Despite growing a respectable mullet at the height of the band's fame, keyboardist Roddy Bottum never seemed at ease with Faith No More
's menacing rap-rock doctrine. Things haven't been easy since striking out with Imperial Teen in 1996--the group's first two albums, Seasick
and 1999's What Is Not to Love
, didn't even rack up a fraction of The Real Thing
's massive sales. But rather than retreating to safer commercial ground, Bottom and his coed San Francisco crew sound more determined than over on this third album. Employing angular new-wave rhythms, furious pop riffs, and stop-start melodies that gyrate over lines like "Shake, shake, va va voom / vis a vis / Go go I do you, you do me," songs like "Undone" and "Teacher's Pet" evoke the high-gloss punch of early MTV acts like Altered Images and Sparks while steadfastly looking forward. It's not only good fun, but far more illuminating than anything the latter-day nu-metal crybabies are whining on about. --Aidin Vaziri