Wednesday, 26 June 2019

MUSIC REVIEW: Surfaces Sensibles - The latest EP from 'Imperial Daze'

Imperial Daze are a psych-pop band from South London with a multi-national feel to them. The band consists of two Englishman, a Frenchman and an Argentinian – they were formed out of a London commune - Alex Cameron-Ward (vocals, guitar), Felix Rebaud-Sauer (guitar, bass), Facundo Rodriguez (keys), Tom Sunney (drums). They cite their heroes and influences as Damon Albarn, Kevin Parker and Soulwax, which is a very wide spectrum, although strangely these are all noticeable when listening to their “Surfaces Sensibles EP”.

The band debuted in 2017 and have already shared stages with performers such as The Maccabees, Mystery Jets, Nilufer Yanya, All We Are and Matt Maltese. They have also had some notable plays on Radix X and BBC 6 Music.

The EP contains a couple of previous single releases with “Always Settling” and “Man Out Of Myself” – both are a little different from the rest of the material on the record. “Always Settling” is a melodic track with some amazing guitar work from Rebaud-Sauer, it has a haunting sound which really gives this psych-pop track a mysterious quality. “Man Out Of Myself” has much more of an electronic vibe about it, harping back to the early '80s synthesiser sound but yet it sounds modern and current.

“Don’t Turn On The Lights” has more of the haunting guitar work from Rebaud-Sauer but the sound is completely different. This feels much more structured in its construction, the vocal on this track from Cameron-Ward is almost robotic and you can imagine that this is the direction that the band will move into as time goes on. It feels effortless and natural – like this is what Imperial Daze were meant to sound like. For me, this is the best track on the EP.

“Minding The Haze” is the latest single released by the band, it has been play-listed by John Kennedy (Radio X) and Amy Lame (BBC 6 Music). The melody is ‘catchy’ and the arrangement is simple but for me there are better tracks on the EP and it is a little surprising that they chose this one to release as the single – it doesn’t really showcase Imperial Daze and their undoubtled talent.

The final track on the EP is “People Are Animals” which is a slower number with a brilliantly constructed chorus that has you singing it in your head the moment you hear it – it has a big arena feel about it and you can imagine crowds singing back to the band in droves. Again this has a different sound to other tracks on the album and lyrically this is the most thought provoking track on the EP. Speaking about the song, the band themselves said it “hints at the glaring contradiction that, although we are ever more digitally connected, these digital connections can ultimately be incredibly superficial and render us alien to those around us. This is a point often made, that as animals, we are less and less present with our kind. The concepts of digital immediacy, AI, pornography and the potential mental malaise and degradation of the mind due to technological addiction come in to play here.”

Imperial Daze are clearly a band that will make some waves across the Indie scene over the coming years and their diverse sounds across the various tracks on this EP will make them more appealing to a mass audience. I expect to hear much more from them on the mainstream channels as they release more music – Surfaces Sensibles is without doubt the best of their releases to date and I think they will simply get better and better. Watch this space!

Reviewer - John Fish
on - 25/6/19

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