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Imaginary People Announce New Album ALIBI

Imaginary People Announce New Album ALIBI

New York City-based band Imagainary People have announced the release of their third full-length album Alibi due July 12. Today the band shared "Hometown" the first single to be lifted from the album with PopMatters and the song will be on all streaming platforms this Thursday. The song condems the homogeny of the modern world, the capitalist system that dictates that, and the death of culture and personality that entails. PopMatters says, "Landing somewhere between '80s stadium rock (The Alarm, War-era U2) and latter day saints such as the War on Drugs, the track feels like sweeping emotional victory while tackling one of the truths of life in our time: Home ain't what it used to be." Imaginary People's frontman Dylan Von Wagner explains, "It's about what happens when your town is replaced with something that seems to sway on the benign and it kind of leaves you with this dread. It's all spread out in this cookie cutter mold, and the town doesn't have its own personality - just another brush stroke on the bland canvas of suburbia."

Imaginary People's forthcoming release Alibi is a response to the cultural civil war that Von Wagner sees unfolding all across the USA. "I just think we're in an ultimate fight right now," he says. "Our society is falling apart and the ins and outs of our cultural differences are splitting - it feels like what one person says is right and what the other person says is wrong and that's it. The whole time we were doing the record, it felt like normalcy was falling apart. The things you'd think would ordinarily be right and wrong aren't happening anymore, and that was very disturbing to me."

That cultural dystopia bristles through Alibi's 11 songs. Recorded by Phil Weinrobe (Nick Murphy, Pussy Riot, Stolen Jars) at Rivington 66 in New York City, as well as upstate with Eli Crews at Spillway Sound in the Catskills, and mixed by Eli Crews (Tuneyards, Deerhoof, Xylouris White) at Figure 8 in Brooklyn. This is an album that shimmers with a twisted beauty, which feeds off all of that disturbing substance and turns it into something both harrowing and beautiful.

As such, the band - completed by Mark Roth (guitar), Justin Repasky (keys/synth), Kolby Wade (drums), Bryan Percivall (bass/synth), and with additional synth work by Grant Zubritsky - have not just perfectly captured the times in which this record was written, but have managed to turn the nightmare of the modern world into something truly exquisite, pitting emotional vulnerability against an almost resigned stoicism. Just listen to the way that Von Wagner's voice trembles on opener "It's Simple" - the tenderly mournful opener written minutes after the singer watched the gun massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School unfold on live television - or the tentative fragility and dark romanticism of "Bronx Girl", which manages to still be hopeful in a world without hope. Elsewhere, the jittery "Neon Age" rails against a world in which people present a different version of their lives to society in order to impress them.

Right in the middle of it all is a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper" - an unusual choice, but one that fits right in with the tone, atmosphere and outlook of the rest of the record, as well as Von Wagner's almost nihilistic vision of the world.

While there are glimpses of light throughout the darkness that permeates every aspect of Alibi - one that captures the nature of what humanity has become - and while its songs do reflect the harsh, bleak reality of being alive - and of the coldness and meanness of the big city, especially when the world feels like it's collapsing - it also manages to exist on its own, and on its own terms.

"Imaginary People are just in our own little world," says Von Wagner. "I don't think we really participate, we live in New York and it was made here, but we just keep to ourselves. I don't know where this stuff comes from or why I feel this way and write this. I feel like it's a weird addiction that I can't shake, and I don't think any psychoanalysis is going to shed light on it."

Welcome, then, to the world of Alibi. It's a cold, dark, lonely place, but so is the world. Stick around long enough, however, and the light might just start to shine through.

Photo credit: Kiley Rothweiler

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