The key to this show lay with the man stood right at the back with the pig’s head mask. This latex disguise clearly transmitted some sort of strange cosmic energy towards the stage for when this guy pulled it over his own head imp’s music just seemed to properly ignite and take off. Yet when he removed it – presumably so he could breathe – the sound started to cough and splutter and songs were unexpectedly truncated. But the mask must have been on much more than it was off because the final score was well above the band’s early prediction that they would end up being a mere four-out-of-ten.
imp seem to have been kicking about West Yorkshire for a while now. Once they were five, but now only four young men assume the imp position. They line up behind regulation guitars and drums and an old ‘80’s Yamaha keyboard fed through a couple of pedals neither of which appear to be marked brake because once imp get going they don’t half shift through those sonic gears and genres. The imp sound is one that puts its arms around the shoulders of the popular groove and gives it a hefty yet reassuring squeeze. Propelled along by that keyboard it somehow manages to align the ghosts of Frank Sidebottom and Ray Manzarek with some of the most fluid guitar you will hear this side of Saturn.
Shoehorned as they were tonight between the dark bravura beat of Ghost Orchid and the power-pop of Tiny Planets, imp had precious little space in which to manoeuvre but what room they did have, and some sound problems aside, they used well. More than half of their eight song set was given over to material from their shortly forthcoming and eagerly awaited début album Moon Coastal Maine. They opened with Air Waves, a most contagious little toe-tapping pop nugget if ever there was one, and ended up half an hour later with Walter’s Books, a crackerjack of a tune, bristling with progressive chord changes and one which cast the band in the guise of either being Wakefield’s very own Bash Street Kids or a really quite remarkable pig’s mask replica.
Moon Coastal Maine is released on 25th November 2013 through Philophobia Music