Imperial Teen 

The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band

It's a shame Phil Spector's up to his bad Beatle haircut in legal troubles, as it might be interesting hearing the results of an Imperial Teen/Spector studio collaboration. Bay Area combo Imperial Teen is back with its first offering in five years, replete with the right proportions of droll sass and pop suss on The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band (a song regarding its hiatus). The Teen comes on like a somewhat more mature version of the B-52's when it does the twist-and-shout with "Shim Sham" and "Sweet Potato." With "Everything," Imp-Teen tips its collective sun hat to Uncle Phil's Wall of Sound. Then, it's guilty-pleasures time with the bouncy-mopey "Everyone Wants to Know," which cheerily, eerily recalls every piano-driven midtempo slice of whimsy by Elton John and Billy Joel from the '80s. But fear not, the band still rocks — note the garage punk crackle of "One Two" — and still have that knack for classy, melancholic pop, as on the swoon-inducing closer "What You Do," the best song Bacharach and David never wrote. Hair's production is well defined (Teen's enunciation will linger in your cranium as much as its melodies) and direct, the lyrics witty sans pomposity. Consistently fine stuff.

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