Imperial Leisure – Razzle Dazzle

Artist: Imperial Leisure
Title: Razzle Dazzle
Released: 17th November 2014

Originally Reviewed for The Punk Archive

Imperial Leisure are not new to this Ska-Punk/AltSka game. They have been whipping crowds into a creamy mess and releasing music for over 15 years now, and I’m beginning to see why they have lasted.

First of all, their new EP - Razzle Dazzle - is tight. Very, very tight. They may have been together for longer than most marriages, but it still takes skill to jump between loud, quiet, half and double time as flawlessly as they do. I haven’t seen them live yet (although based on this I’d like to), but the production on this release is lo-fi and understated enough for me to be pretty sure that it mirrors exactly what they sound like on stage.

The EP kicks off at 100mph and stays there for its full 14mins, barely leaving anyone space to draw breath. Even in the more chilled (relatively speaking) breakdowns of Razzle Dazzle and Nasty Boy, not a sliver of momentum is sacrificed.

There are some interesting musical textures thrown in too: the legato trumpet solo in Razzle Dazzle and the (unusually) tasteful synth moments in Festival and Lucky People for example. This is all over the top of a rough-around-the-edges mix of Ska, Punk, Metal and Rap that leans on some chunky, fuzzed out guitar riffs to create a surprisingly heavy sound.

You could argue that each song on this EP is a little too similar to the last. However, I can’t help feeling that Imperial Leisure are all about the energy, and with just four songs to play with keeping the energy high is totally the right move. What they have created may not be the most varied body of music, but it is solid, cohesive and really fucking fun.