Imp of Perverse - “Imp in Reverse”
(Under the Counter Tapes)
I make it a point not to read press releases that come packaged with music until after listening to said music. When it came to listening to Imp in Reverse, I had no idea what I was dealing with. I really dig this cover art. but I must admit the hypnotic background and slimeball cartoon splatters had me imagining some pretty damn weird music to go along with it. My mind immediately went with odd instrumentation, maybe some creepy whispers, perhaps an uncomfortably chorused and phased tuneless voice belting out nonsensical lyrics - All of which would have been perfectly fine, because that’s exactly what I was expecting.
Instead, my ears were greeted with 83 minutes of psychedelic pop, with catchy, melodic guitar hooks, expertly managed percussion, and smooth, 90s styled rock and roll lyrics.
Imp of Perverse is the solo project of Sean Lochridge, drummer for the Austin, TX pysch pop band, Sherry. This career-spanning release explores the evolution of The Imp, as a writer, creator and all around mad genius of off-the-wall rock musings. The catch here is that this litany of creative output is presented in reverse chronological order - allowing the listener the unique experience of starting at present day, and traveling backwards in one song increments as The Imp slowly grows younger, and wilder.
Interested yet? You should be. The entire release is a solid musical odyssey full of hook-laden rock melodies, killer rhythms, and a quirky atmosphere of irreverent fun that keeps each new track fresh and engaging. Imp in Reverse is divided neatly into four musical zones for the time-traveling listener to meander through:
Act 1 - Not Getting What You Want, One Step at a Time
The first four tracks of Imp in Reverse comprise this act. This music represents a seasoned Imp, using all the art rock skills he has developed to craft dream-like arrangements and catchy, melodic wordplay. Whether it’s the laid back acoustic vibe of misunderstanding, or the clean electric line, background organs, and breathy Lou Reed styled whispered lyrics of decisions, this chapter of the story could be considered the most ‘commercial,’ although that is a dangerous word to use in this context.
Act 2 - There's Everything
Tracks five through nine allow us to see the experimental side of The Imp, with selections that employ complex structures, off-the-wall writing and unpredictable, yet satisfying results. What we see here is a strong, confident Imp who is ready to challenge us. The thesis of this segment of the Imp’s progression can be found in the existential buzzing curves of the track, Pixelated Mindfuck in the Infinite Reality Corner, which blends tightly controlled psychedelic rock recording with chaotic-leaning dream passages. This act is also home to Gulliver’s Tail which is an objectively great track, built on a solid lead guitar riff, and a great bridge with punchy bass and the repeated motto of “Some people never change/ but over time they don’t seem the same.” Afterwards, a lengthy guitar amp buzz leads the track back into the main drag for some echoed final vocalizations.
Act 3 - Togethercoloured Instant
This section of Imp in Reverse could be considered the calm before the storm. It is a beautiful three-track presentation featuring jangly guitar scrollwork, warmly looping synth arpeggios and gauzy arrangements of floating fuzz.
Act 4 - Who Knows
The end of this backwards story is the beginning. This nine-track entry in the Imp of Peverse saga is the debut of Sean Lochridge's solo efforts - and it is a mighty tome of psychedelic rock goodness, full of heavy, grunge-slinging guitars and gobs of furious percussion. The opening harsh drums and wailing guitar leads of steponthisflowerpedal lead the way for avant-garde art rock madness to spill over the track in broken chunks of pop rock laden with young lad lyrics and curling electric embellishment for punctuation. Each track in this act is a careening container of rhythms, hooks, thumping bass, and assorted psych elements - all pleasingly jumbled messes of young rock swagger.
Overall, Imp in Reverse may seem like a daunting release for an uninitiated listener to sink their teeth into, but don't be discouraged by the amount of material here. Finally, you get bang for your buck. Every track of this release is high-quality, and we found it perfectly suitable to experience this release in its entirety.