Perhaps unsurprisingly, 2015’s ‘Lifestyle Brand’ sees the band returning to their roots in a major way, and what’s more it’s probably for the best. Opening track ‘Victory Cycle’ immediately sets the tone with its Latin keys and powerful brass section taking the lead, the opening lyrics “Back to basics” reaffirming we’re once again on familiar ground. Organ drenched ska tunes ‘Lucky People’ and ‘Nasty Boy’ continue in similar fashion, and are like a fresh breath of festival summer air against the darker tone of the last record. Front man Dboy’s notorious wit and vocal dexterity shine brightly and provide an even match to the band’s profound musicianship throughout.
It’s a shame though that with the return of the band’s signature sound also comes some of the less inspiring lyrical traits of former years. Songs like ‘Three Women One Night’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle’ while undeniably catchy lend themselves to some occasionally tiresome subject matter. Lines such as “Nice tits…nice bed, give head” and “Who does he fuck, the mother or the daughter?” are unfortunate reminders of old habits that perhaps should have died in 2010. At a time when other bands of the genre are gravitating in more progressive directions lyrically, it’s a pity to see Imperial Leisure clinging on so dearly to their “lads on tour” mentality.
For better or for worse though, ‘Lifestyle Brand’ is a wholly unapologetic record. Bursting into the room with a boisterous swagger and beer in hand it delivers what the band does best. Fans of the first record will undoubtedly love it, and for those willing to put lyrical hang ups aside, ‘Lifestyle Brand’ could see in a new wave of fans for this well-oiled party machine.
’Lifestyle Brand by Imperial Leisure is out now on FXD Records.
Words by Matt Carson.