Released by: Psychout Records
Release date: 21 August 2015
Nicke Andersson – Vocals, Guitar
Dolf de Borst – Backing Vocals, Bass
Tobias Egge – Backing Vocals, Guitar
Tomas Eriksson – Drums, Percussion
01. Let Me Throw My Life Away
02. Anywhere Loud
03. Guard Down
04. All Over My Head
05. Maybe You’re Right
06. Walk On By
07. Another Armageddon
08. Lost in Losing You
09. Just Let Me Know
10. Colder Down Here
11. It Ain’t What You Think (It’s What You Do)
Having been a fan of Sweden’s The Hellacopters I was was pleasantly surprised when by pure chance I discovered Imperial State Electric less than a year ago, thanks Pandora. Upon my introductory listen I thought: “wow this band sounds like The Hellacopters”. I’d soon learn that singer / guitarist Nicke Andersson was the chief architect of both. Imperial State Electric picks up right where The Hellacopters left off. Delivering no frills rock ‘n roll that cherry picks some of the best elements of classic rock’s glory days with sonic touchstones ranging from the mid 60’s through the late 70’s.
Clocking in at a lean and mean 32 minutes and 17 seconds, “HONK MACHINE “ is a blast of pure rock fun with blazing guitars and big sing along chorus. The opening track “Let Me Throw My Life Away” comes roaring in like a ballsier Big Star with a little bit of early KISS rawness and after only a few days of listening it’s becoming one of my favorite tracks.
Other stand out cuts are “All Over My Head” with it’s feel good acoustic guitars and bouncing bass line, “Maybe You’re Right” it’s straight out of the mid 60’s sound feels like some lost Kinks or Yardbirds B-side, “Just Let Me Know”, another power pop gem and the soul drenched “Walk On By”. There also some great up tempo garage rock numbers in “Lost In Losing You“ and the closing “It Ain’t What You Think (It’s What You Do).
There is plenty to like on “HONK MACHINE”, so much so that I ordered a vinyl copy for myself today. My only nit pick is that to my ears, the mix is a little cluttered, there is ample low end, but instead of being tight and punchy it’s a little more on the rumbly side and for my taste there could be a little more space and separation between the instruments. I’m a big fan of classic 70’s rock records that really breath, KISS’ “Dressed To Kill” is a example that comes to mind. Still most people might not even pick up on that , or care for that matter and for those who typically listen to mp3’s via ear buds I doubt it will be an issue at all.
Unfortunately much like “The Hellacopters”, “Imperial State Electric” rarely tour outside of Europe so those of us outside of the E.U. will just have to enjoy them from afar.
Written by: David Burke
Ratings: David 8/10