Thursday, July 14, 2016

Imperial State Electric - debut CD

The Hellacopters are one of my favorite bands of recent times, although they sadly broke up in 2008 (man, how has it been that long ago already?). Frontman Nicke Andersson (guitar/vocals) then formed Imperial State Electric and released this debut record in 2010. As best as I can tell, this and their subsequent albums have not been released in the States, so it took me a while to find a good deal on it. This does pick up where the Hellacopters left off - a lot cleaner than those early recordings (which are mind-bogglingly incredible) and practically a power-pop twist to the proceedings. Kinda what you would expect from Nicke at this point in time.

Although this started as a solo project, he is joined here by Dolph de Borst (bass/vocals), Tomas Eriksson (drums), and Tobias Egge (guitar/vocals) - maybe not quite the HC's, but still a tight, rockin' combo. Plenty of guitars that sound like they coulda come from Kiss' Dressed to Kill, cool riffs and sing-along melodies highlight "A Holiday From My Vacation" and "Lord Knows That It Ain't Right" easily woulda fit on Rock&Roll Is Dead. Choppy rhythms punch out "Resign", a darker, yet still melodic number in a Cheap Trick-ish kinda way, and a simple punk-pop riff drives the frantic "Throwing Stones". Again highly reminiscent of the Hella's, "I'll Let You Down" starts out as almost a copy of one of Nicke's older songs until it turns into a bevy of Beatles/Cheap Trick melody lines and harmonies. "I Got All Day Long" is a cool, 70's pop-rocker, "Lee Ann" again is a moodier number, "Deja Vu" is a bouncy punk rocker, "Together in the Darkness" is totally 70's power-pop, then a sorta Foghat groove in "Alive", some heavier gloom in "Diseased Pieces of My Heart" before ending with the energetically rockin' "Redemption's Gone".

You can always tell Nicke when you hear him - his distinctive voice and songwriting, as well as his excellent guitar work and while I've compared these songs to other people, they all sound like Nicke. Cool stuff - I hope he continues to do more and comes back to the States sometime!