Stereolab offshoots go all English psychedelic in space age batchelor pad fashion...
Matt Fernand 2003
There's a time - about 3 o'clock - on a sunny Bank Holiday afternoon when the England John Major dreamed of almost comes true. In the village the ladies are making the cricket team's sandwiches, and in the city the old ladies are thinking of removing their overcoats. 10 guys are having a kickabout in the park and two of them are taking it too seriously.
Outside the pub there's plenty of time for another and the wasps are getting at the kids' lemonade again. That's the time for Imitation Electric Piano. This isn't Haight-Ashbury, it's King's Road. We don't hug complete strangers. But hey, it's a nice day and this is the soundtrack to it.
Guitars loop and chime, vocals float past on dreamy melodies and the drums rattle along in Ginger Baker jazz-rock grooves. John Barry gets a reference or two in the dulcimer moments and the sharp-dressed spies are running around in corridors when the tempo lifts.
Yes, all that's been visited many times but it hasn't been done to death; just done badly. This record shines because there's a genuine love of its influences driving it along. The psychedelic moments are unhinged, the lounge moments are wearing ruffed pink shirts and thick-framed glasses.
It's a tricky balance between kitsch and retro - the line between Mike Meyers and Michael Caine. IEP hit it every time. It'll soon be time to head home, check the sunburn and wait for the Bond film to start. While you've been dreaming to IEP, another child has dropped their ice-cream on the path and the guy with the tats and vest has won a coconut. Mind you someone's nicked your mobile and the local Cub Scouts have spray-painted 12 graffiti tags on your neighbour's Transit, too. More peas, John?