By Jem Millett
Have you ever wondered what the sound of nostalgia will be in the future? Imaginary People’s album, Dead Letterbox, is the new nostalgia of Dance Americana. As the album starts to unfold within the first two tracks, I am left imagining the feeling of listening to The Beach Boys in 1961: knowing you have a classic in your hands, but it’s too fresh for anyone to understand how grand it is. Released by Five Five Diamonds Records, Imaginary People really grew into their own sound this album.
The second track, "Simple Life", was the first single released. Immediately, the song greets you with a fast beat and synth to shepherd you into a shoe gazing dance. The bridge begs for a quick Bernie Lean. Vocalist Dylan Von Wagner sends you off wanting more.
Quickly, we are met by soft dreams in "Summerstock," which is a perfectly titled song. I wanted nothing more than to set this song in my summer pool play list. As I did just that, I couldn’t help but want to be on a rooftop at a late night party with all of the movers, shakers, creators, doers, and thinkers of our time.
About midway through, the album takes a slower approach and really shows the maturity in their sound. The growth Imaginary People made from their 2013 EP is substantial and one can clearly hear the time they took to focus on their craft. "Gingerbread Girl" is the slowest song on this album and reminds me of that feeling you get when you feel so incredibly sad to be in love. It’s the moment when it’s so perfect that you know it can’t sustain.
The pace is picked back up as it leads to the star of the album: "She Is." If you weren’t listening by now, this song will snap you to attention. The intro and riff that guitarist Mark Roth performs in this song really plays well with Von Wagner’s lyrics here.
As the album winds down, the songs start to temper down. "Miles" really showcases Von Wagner’s vocal abilities during the bridge and proves he is not a one trick pony. "Stella" seals the journey of this album so perfectly, subtly nodding to the past that has influenced this band so heavily. More than anything, this band has its thumb on the future nostalgia of America.