Last year I was pleased to discover Christchurch-based band Volts, who not only have a female lead singer but a very strong backing singer in bassist Victoria Knopps whose husband Andy is also one of the guitarists. They are a band who are making serious waves in the scene, and will be supporting The Darkness when they are over next, so I was somewhat surprised to hear from Vic who was curious if I wanted to hear the debut album from another band featuring her and Andy? This time around she is lead singer in her own right, again providing bass, and while Andy is again there on guitar (they also recorded, produced and mixed it together) they are here joined by Matt Phimmavanh (guitar) and Paul Tatterson (drums).
They have already been garnering comparisons with Courtney Love, The Beths, and Garbage, but the very first time I played this one band sprang to mind and the more I play this the more I think I am right. Imperial April are reminiscent in many ways to none other than The Bangles, except with more direct guitar. This is power pop with a nice proper rock element, and they have managed to still provide crunch without losing the pop element, yet also not sanitising it too much with the result being something which is destined for radio airplay yet will also allow them to get out there and play in front of rock crowds. There is a modern sound, yet songs like “9-30” could have come straight from the Blondie playbook, and given I remember the impact ‘Parallel Lines’ had when it was released (is that really 45 years ago?), that is not something I say lightly.
Imperial April are more pop than Volts, yet still with that underlying rock element, and the bands are distinctly different even though they share two of the same personnel with each having an inherent knack for producing wonderful hooks. Here we have an album which is well worth discovering for fans of the power pop genre as this is a load of fun.