Imaginary People: Dead Letterbox (Five Five Diamonds Records)

NYC five piece unleash highly promising debut LP

Released Nov 20th, 2015 via Five Five Diamonds Records / By Norman Miller
Imaginary People: Dead Letterbox (Five Five Diamonds Records) Formed in 2013, NYC quintet Imaginary People - Dylan Von Wagner (vocals), Mark Roth (guitar), Justin Repasky (keys), Kolby Wade (drums) and Bryan Percivall (bass) - have found themselves filed under 'garage rock'. But that's only part of the ample charm displayed on this excellent debut album that delivers on the promise of earlier well-received EPs.

Von Wagner has a fantastic voice, slipping between vibrato tenderness and potent yelp that conjures up both Lloyd Cole in his prime and Tom Verlaine in his early Television days. He's ably supported by the rest of the band in delivering a set of 11 songs that switch effortlessly between and within tracks from raw intensity and inspired cleverness.

The band enjoy a few great whig out moments with the taut garage strut of She Is and Fever Nation, while Summerstock's interplay between high chiming surf rock and more anthemic garage vibe has garnered deserved airplay. But the best tracks here showcase the band's skill at weaving diverse and intriguing strands into unified wholes that grab the attention from start to finish.

The slow, echoey Agata shows a more tender side of a broken rock 'n' roll heart, a mood taken up again with the melancholic drift of Stella that closes the album. Russian Hill is a quirky charmer that swoops through little instrumental breaks and tempo switches, while cleverly distorted guitar runs through the mid-tempo beauty Gingerbread Girl, capped off with its trippy vaguely psych finale. All Star blends reverby spook rock with country-blues twang, while Miles is an organ-infused gem nods to a rockier take on Moon Duo.

They sounds like an act that would be fabulous live too, so keep an eye out for UK dates.