Jumping straight in with Pretty Little Features, a track that sounds like something fuelled by a mixture of coffee and cocaine. The drums are bouncing all over and backed up by an almost comical sounding trumpet, add in some backup vocals in the chorus and it sounds like a visit to the circus more than anything. I couldn’t help but just sit there a little while in awe, not quite knowing what I was listening to. With a carnival styling running through every aspect of the track, the vocalist acts as a brilliant ringmaster leading the song. Lastly the underlying guitar and bass add in something that sets it apart from being a complete gimmick track, matching the guitar against the trumpet at the very end in a spectacular instrumental display.
Tick Tick Tick opens once again with the trumpet and guitars matching off against one another in a Disney style fashion, although with crude lyrics that are more Clockwork Orange than Aristocats. Whilst not as bouncy as Pretty Little Features, Tick Tick Tick brings the same lively insanity right the way through, being instrumental for the majority of the track in an ongoing display of how a brass instrument can be integrated into an off the wall indie band. Though by no means is it The Imaginary Hat’s only trick, with an unusual vocal delivery and high drum taps that fuel a sound that is wholly their own. Tick Tick Tick ends up being a display of instrumental talent rather than a showcase of the band as a whole like Pretty Little Features.
The third track of the EP, Right Side is something else entirely, with a bass guitar that takes the lead completely. Booming straight into your face in a fashion that I haven’t heard since listening to an early Tool album. With echoing vocals that contain veiled threats to add to a creepy atmosphere, Right Side makes sure to avoid the trap of doing the same thing as the previous tracks. Keeping things fresh with a heavy downbeat rhythm and angsty bass makes for a great change of pace.
Monkey Glands is another show of high energy madness that’s straight from Alice in Wonderland. Monkey Glands does a clever blend to hold itself together, mixing the high energy and trumpeting of Pretty Little Features with the angry bass of Right Side. Throw in the entire band chipping in with some monkey noises to round out the track and you’ve got the gist, and yes actual monkey noises.
Rounding out the EP is Until One Of Us Dies, and it’s about as cheery as it sounds depending on how you look at it. Pulling in lyrics that are both sweet and melancholy at the same time, I couldn’t suss out whether the vocalist was worn out with life or happy with his lover. And of course there’s what’s to be expected from The Imaginary Hat at this point, brass, guitar and a little down-strung bass.
Age Of Anxiety left me speechless with it’s sheer amount of quirks, bringing in styles that in themselves are underused and throwing them all together to stew in a pot. It shouldn’t work, but it works in a way only a madman could comprehend. It works beautifully.