Imperial April – ‘Imperial April’


A stirring blend of ’90s alt-rock nostalgia and modern sophistication compel throughout Imperial April‘s self-titled debut album. Hailing from Christchurch, New Zealand, the band impress with a wide range of successes, from the spacey synth-pop incorporations of “Release Me” to the upfront alt-rock fuzz of the opening “Peachy.”

Writer, producer, and frontwoman Victoria Knopp notes that the album was a long time in the making. “Versions of this album have been floating around on hard drives and CD-Rs for what feels like an eternity. It’s kind of hard to remember that putting my voice front and centre on anything felt so alien, but it was a huge mental hurdle.” The result feels seamlessly cohesive nonetheless, offering an abundance of melodic songwriting and a dynamic rock approach, succeeding in both breezier jangles like “Oh Denial” and anthemic stirrers in the vein of “Hurt or Bleeding.”

“Somedays I wonder why we try,” the vocals start on the aforementioned “Hurt of Bleeding,” a particularly catching demonstration of the band’s knack for hooky escalations and eclectic rock appeal. The jangly guitar lines drives into a gripping “hard to see,” vocal escalation, with a slight synth-laden effervescence guiding alongside spirited vocals lamenting a sinking ship.

Elsewhere, “Release Me” excels in its more synth-laden emphasis alongside crunchy guitars, while the emotive “Baby Blue” succeeds with a contemplative, folk-forward rock arsenal. Imperial April is a fantastic full-length debut from this talented New Zealand-based act.

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of December 2023’ Spotify playlist.

“Peachy” is also featured in the genre-based, best-of Spotify compilation Emerging Indie Rock.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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