In the press build up to this, the second album in a year from Imperial State Electric, on a story we ran on the site, their main man Nicke Andersson was asked how he made records so quickly.
His answer tells you more about the man and his records than any review is ever going to: “We play rock ‘n’ roll music” he said. “If it takes four years to make a rock ‘n’ roll record then you have most likely over analysed an art form that isn’t meant to be analysed at all. You should feel it and to me, this feels real good.”.
Subtext: take that Guns n Roses.
Last year’s astonishing “Honk Machine” (named after Andersson’s home studio where that, and this, was recoded) was a timely reminder that arguably no one is as good at writing this type of rock n roll as he is. “All Through The Night” is confirmation that few are as varied as Imperial State Electric either.
Sure, Andersson has shown this before – The Hellacopters sounded nothing like his soul albums with The Solution, after all – but never before has he been this varied on one record.
ISE might actually be the most honest band on Planet Rock too, given that you’d imagine that the four men who make up the band Dolf de Borst: Backing Vocals, Bass, Tobias Egge: Backing Vocals, guitar and Thomas Eriksson: Drums, Percussion all join the singer/guitarist, are all steeped in the music they play.
That’s surely the only way you’d get the full-on Phil Spector type wall of sound Soul of the title track (and Springsteen would have killed for this circa The River) and the incredible outpouring of ebullience that is “Get Off The Boo-Hoo Train” which is like Jerry Lee Lewis fronting The Georgia Satellites on the same record.
It’s also this whatever happens, happens, attitude that pervades “Break It Down” (a duet with Linn Segolson) and “Read Me Wrong” which are countrified in the way that “Dead Flowers” is and makes that the harmonies of “Over And Over Again” quite so loose limbed.
Actually, this slightly different air had been evident since the start. “Empire Of Fire” – which kicks this truly magnificent record off – is unmistakably Andersson, but marches in swinging like it wants to make a point, and as if to emphasise the point, the gorgeous 1960s shimmering acoustics which morph into a Beatles-ish stomp of “No Sleeping” end things in a quite unexpected way.
But brilliantly in between there’s some real moments of what we might call the classic Hellacopters late period (that is to say when they throttled back from the outright punk of the first record). “Remove Your Doubt” is brilliant, “Bad Timing” even better and on this track there’s a line that sums the ethos of Imperial State Electric up perfectly: “In my defence, I reckon I was born too late” suggest the lyrics
The feeling of being born after all your favourite bands were at their peak is one that others might empathise with (not least this reviewer) but yet again Nicke Andersson and his band mates have turned this frustration into real gold.
And yes, “All Through The Night” feels real good. Damn near perfect in fact.