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Imitation Electic Piano

Imitation Electric Piano
Self-Titled EP
(Drag City)

This is one of those short, quick releases that goes down so smooth there's really nothing else to do but hit the repeat button as soon as it's done and listen to the whole thing again. With 5 tracks that go by in just over 20 minutes of time, it actually feels shorter than that, but in the case of this disc that's not a bad thing. Imitation Electric Piano is the group formed as a side project by Simon Johns (the bass player for Stereolab). The funny thing is that while they're not really technically doing anything staggeringly different than anyone else, the songs are infinitely catchy with their mix of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and a nicely implemented trumpet.

Judging by the names of the tracks on the disc, the group also has a nice sense of humor, and that's evident on the first track, which is simply titled "Progressive Rock." Instead of pummeling you with flaming keyboard solos or the usual cheese that passes for the genre, though, they build things up at a steady pace with some nice thick bass and twinkling keyboards, with just a touch of freestyle sounding trumpet. By the end, it sounds more like a banged-up jazz track, but that's not going to change my high opinion of it. The second track "The Sidecar Register" takes off with more of a swinging rhythm section and again it's the trumpet that sort of highlights the track.

The rest of the album doesn't let down either. The third track "(A Drunken Lunge Through) Deep Rice Pudding" is a more laid-back affair with squiggled keyboards while "Five Seperate Whooshes" lives up to its title and rolls along at a nice pace with dueling keyboards and bass. The album closes out with the very pretty "Day Of The Dinge," and then it's all over as quickly as it started. It's the perfect accompaniment for a short drive, or just waking up in the morning (unless it takes you longer than 20 minutes to drag your ass out of bed, and then you'll just need to play it more than once).

Having said all of the above, I'm not even quite sure what category to put the group into, and I'm not sure that I need to. Fans of Tortoise or Stereolab would probably eat this up, as well as anyone who likes instrumental music that isn't stagnated and doesn't take itself too seriously. The interesting thing is that this group is mainly jsut a side project and a lot of inspired jamming, which sometimes (as proven by this release) produces the best results.

Rating: 7.5