If you miss post-punk and no wave, here’s your latest fix.
Sacred Bones, 2013
Imps of Perversion is Pop. 1280‘s second full-length album, and it seems the guys from Brooklyn are still trying to nail down their sound, but are definitely making progress. This is another one of those albums it took me several listens to begin to appreciate, as the first time I cranked it up, I thought it was absolute garbage. I’m still not completely sold, but Imps of Perversion is definitely not crap. (Random trivia: the band takes their name from a 1964 crime novel by Jim Thompson.)
You can expect jangling guitars, somewhat understated bass and drum work, and vocals that are just shy of tuneless shouting from Chris Bug, Ivan Lip, Pascal Ludet, and Zach Ziemann. Pop. 1280 has made what is clearly a post-punk album that occasionally dabbles in both new wave and no wave sounds. A perfect example of this would be “Do the Anglerfish”, which opens with a keyboard line straight out of Miami Vice that quickly gets murdered by a somewhat out-of-tune guitar scream. “Human Probe II” follows a similar sonic pattern, but in a much more ominous fashion, and opens with the lyrics “Please nail my head to the wall/ That’s just how I like it”. Album closer “Riding Shotgun” deviates sonically from most of the record; it almost sounds like it was written by The Cure.
On the negative end of the spectrum, there’s a general discordant, out-of-tune feel to Imps of Perversion. It seems as if the guitars and bass were tuned perfectly, and then banged against a wall just enough times to put things out of whack. There are a also a few cuts here that are absolute torture for the ears. “Population Control” sounds like it was recorded on someone’s bootleg cassette player back in 1985 or so; in other words, it’s intentionally shitty. I find this to be an almost inexcusable “artistic” choice. “Lights Out” fails to impress, and there’s a good chance you’ll find the seven-plus minutes of “Nailhouse” unnecessarily repetitive, and once again, discordant.
The Bottom Line: Pop. 1280 has succeeded in creating a generally solid post-punk record in Imps of Perversion, but it’s not immediately accessible.
Purchase: Pop. 1280 – Imps of Perversion