Despite the sparseness of their release history, indie-pop supergroup Imperial Teen have existed long enough that the fact that the members’ histories in punk bands like Faith No More or The Dicks is at best, an interesting footnote in the career of a band that has outlived the usefulness of that fact as a selling point. Much like how Dallas Green of post-hardcore act Alexisonfire has established himself as a sonic angel under the name City & Colour, Imperial Teen’s brand of twee-pop is – for the right ears, at least – light years more inviting to the average listener than their previous roots. Whether it’s more engaging leaves room for debate, but even at their shreddiest moments, they’re adept at providing you with craftsman-level sonic hugs, as inviting as they are just plain ol’ good.

Their newest, Now We Are Timeless, is the band’s first since 2012’s Feel the Sound – a seven-year gap is pretty substantial even for a band with five-year breaks in albums. Life makes us all a lot busier than we’d like to be sometimes – notable because this was largely the focus of 2007’s The Hair the TV the Baby & the Band – so it’s not that shocking that we haven’t seen them in so long. Their music doesn’t have the same vital edge it used to, but they haven’t lost any charm. Opener “I Think That’s Everything” dedicates itself early to letting you know this, a slow-building synth number that pairs frontperson/synth player Roddy Bottum’s gentle voice and vulnerable lyrics about romantic failure with twee-core drum machine beats.

Some of the best moments are the ones where they give themselves a little more permission to let loose. The catchy “We Do What We Do Best” breaks from the gentle mood of “I Think That’s Everything” with psychedelic guitars and hard-hitting drums, and both “Parade” and “The Girl” give off the same about-to-burst energy that the most electrified songs on Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois, threatening to erupt but being too gentle to get there. Elsewhere, moody songs like “Don’t Wanna Let You Down,” straddle both their modes by switching from quiet organ-featuring verses transition into shreddy guitars for its choruses.

For better or worse, there are moments where they just sound like they’re making songs for other bands – which is cool, but only when it works. There are plenty of moments of playful Yo La Tengo worship – “Walkaway” sounds right at home in today’s dreampop-loving climate and would fit perfectly on Fade, the gauzy reverb burying everything, Bottum’s voice 50 years away from the mic. One song later, “How We Say Goodbye” ends up delivering raucous Clientele send-up. “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” fails on this, however: it’s a sparse song that feels like it’s missing something. It’s possible that it’s solely because Bottum sounds an awful lot like Damon Albarn, it wouldn’t be out of place on the Gorillaz iPad album The Fall during its verses, and though the chorus picks up its pace, the band still seem to be holding back.

Ultimately, Timeless is a very pleasant and brief jaunt – it’s a scant 34 minutes long – that is, unfortunately very ironically, largely forgettable. It lacks the same highs that Feel the Sound did, and is saved by the fact that they’re still very well-done songs. At this point, they have nothing to prove anymore and can make whatever they want – if they want to make more fun, inconsequential pop records like Now We Are Timeless, so be it.

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