Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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***1/2

IMPERIAL TEEN
The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band
Merge

California indie geniuses keep the flame burning on fourth album

So about that title. Hair: Jone Stebbins tours with her styling scissors. TV: Roddy Bottum scored the defunct ABC series Help Me Help You. Baby: Lynn Truell, nee Perko, is pregnant in her booklet photo. Which leaves Will Schwartz as the band, still harboring dreams that these veteran art-pop up-and-comers will someday be remunerative as well as catchy. Catchy they remain on their belated fourth album -- also bright, dynamic, tender, brainy, unpretentious and civilly pansexual. But after barely playing out in five years, are they a band on the strength of a written-from-memory title tune about touring's frantic rush? Or of "Room With a View," about a rehearsal space where you can pretend you're "twenty for life"? Or of "Fallen Idol," in which Schwartz complains or admits, "Since I've gone solo/We've hit a new low"? That low is pretty high. But nobody can pretend to be twenty forever.

Rolling Stone, Aug. 23, 2007