Album Review – The Imperial Rooster – Decent People

July 3, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  12 Comments

Normally when I go to review an album, whether it takes me the first listen through or weeks of listening, eventually I am able to come to some solid conclusions, draw four solid lines around the project if you will. When it comes to the Espanola, NM-based band The Imperial Rooster, and their album Decent People, I am stumped. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and imparts points for originality for sure, but it doesn’t make my job of describing this album, or trying to convince you whether you should like it or not very easy.

I have seen the term “gonzo” attributed to The Rooster, and that’s probably a good place to start. They’re not very “country” in the traditional sense, there is some old-time, almost Carter Family elements to it like on the last song of the album “Suzie Anna Riverstone”. But overall it is more of a string-based, rootsy band. “Weird” and “obscure” would be some other good descriptive words. They’re not dark or Gothic overall. There are some dark songs though. One reason I think I can’t place The Rooster completely is because I have not done enough hallucinogens in my time on this world planet, and the other is their dramatic diversity in style.

The album starts with the rousting, hoedown-style “Anything Goes At A Rooster Show”, which is your first taste of their offbeat sense of humor. There is a lot of humor in this album, though not in all the songs, and it is used in a variety of ways. Songs like “Anything Goes” and “DWI Marijuana Blues” use humor for more of a visceral “gonzo” response, while songs like “Korhn Sirup Sundae”, “The Sun” and even the porn-inspired “One Click Away (from Judgement Day)” use humor as a way to satirize modern life. From a lyrical standpoint, “Korhn Sirup” is the standout, and does an amazing job conveying universal fears in life, and allowing you to laugh at them. Think of Imperial Rooster as the jesters of dystopia.

“The Beast on the Backs of Our Children” and “45 Seconds of Blood” is where the album turns from dark humor to just plain dark, though with all the satire from the previous songs, there’s a satirical residue that permeates these tracks so you don’t take them too seriously. The album again takes you off guard with “McGinty’s”, a droning, Irish pub tune that humanizes the thousands and thousands of bars all over the world that act as many people’s second home or haven from despair. This song proves The Rooster can work with soul, not just satire.

The few things I know about this album for sure is that it is very original, very energetic, and at times, very funny. My guess is to fully appreciate The Rooster experience, one must see them live. But seeing them the first time, or on your first trip through this album, you may feel like the square sitting at the re-airing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in some downtown art house. While dressed-up freaks scream and yell at the screen, aping scenes in animated movie pews, you watch appreciating that something entertaining is going down, but understanding much of the entertainment is going whizzing right over your head.

Yes, it may take some time to calibrate your music brain around their approach, but without question The Imperial Rooster and Decent People is worth a sniff or two.

1 1/2 of 2 guns up!

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Decent People has been released digitally, but they have started a Kickstarter campaign to help produce CD’s and vinyl of this album.

12 Comments to “Album Review – The Imperial Rooster – Decent People”

  • I like that review! It’s very interesting to see you a little stumped. Listening to those samples I can see how they might be a fabulous live band. They don’t sound very country to me, I hear more The Pogues. That Irish sound is not something I’m personally very keen on, however I know lots of others love it.


  • LOVE IT!! Heck Yeah Imperial Rooster!!


  • Love this band, love the album. Solid review Trig,


  • Very cool video. I dig it!


  • Great review. I’m definately gonna dl this. Espanola, NM lies about halfway between the currently enflamed home of the national lab (and birthplace of nuclear weapons ) in Los Alamos and the corrupt state capitol/southwestern art mecca of Santa Fe. I used to work a couple days a month in Espanola, and it always had a feeling of hopelessness and desperation, like anyplace had to be a better bet. That vibe these guys have is no act. The whole town looks like the porch they are playing on.


    • I lived in Taos, NM for over 2 1/2 years and still own a little sliver of land with a singlewide trailer on it up there. I went to and passed through Espanola countless times. You hear about it being the meth capitol of this, and the unemployment capitol of that. I was really surprised and delighted to see such a creative band calling that place home. It proves, however dirty or depressed the place is, a place is people, and if Imperial Rooster calls Espanola home, that town deserves a second look by many folks.


    • “The whole town looks like the porch they are playing on.” Huh, maybe that’s because that porch is OUR home – or at least symbolic of our homes. And what you understand as “hopelessness and desperation” is what you misunderstand. I think that Triggerman got it right when he described a sensibility that much about this band, for peeps who aren’t from Española, is that much of it goes “whizzing right over your head.” But it’s not about That’s also true for our town in general… for folks who drive through or pop in to work every once in a while, I suspect that much whizzes right over your heads as well.


  • I love these guys. BTW, if anyone is interested they had an album before this one that was also very good.


    • And what was that album called?


      • The previous album was called “Old Good Poor Crazy Dead,” and is available here, as well as elsewhere.

        (^_^) TOAST


  • As I listened to this group singin’, I closed my eyes and almost smelled the river flowing in front of that there porch.

    Great blog Triggerman.


  • I used to set on that very lump of cement with them, then I grew old and I was already tired so I retired to the left-coast, still enjoy Espanola music and my kind’a retired friends I left behind, Hello guys and of course LuLu. ℗.


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