Hollow and haunting, Imaginary People’s sophomore full-length October Alice, is a macabre masterpiece. At times cacophonous, and other times melodic, the album explores some of the most morbid corners of the human mind and shines a light on their darkest crevices. Wistful guitar tones, guttural vocals, and commanding bass lines move throughout the desolate environment constructed by Imaginary People in Alice.
Inspired by tragedy and loss, October Alice is a sonic epitaph in 11 parts, contained within Imaginary People’s milieu. Mark Roth’s guitar melodies stir and echo across each track, while Kolby Wade’s drums lay sunken underneath. Recorded in an empty barn and silo in upstate New York, these songs ring with reverberation like they’re bouncing around large, wooden, incurvate surfaces. Dylvan Von Wagner’s melancholic warble vibrates around the room in harmony with the instrumental melodies. Bryan Percivall and Justin Repasky fill out the arrangement, with driving bass beats and synth hooks respectively.
October Alice is an album that feels though it exists in a single room. This particular room is where Imaginary People’s five members have gone to process grief and grapple with anguish. On some tracks, like ‘Seven Days,’ this room of sound feels eerie and empty, devoid of energy. On others, like ‘Fresh Kill,’ the room is pulsing with heat and anger. ‘Kill’ is an electrified culmination of negative experiences and emotions that feels cathartic throughout, yet unsettling in its resolve. Though each track can easily stand alone as a piece of music in it’s own rite, ‘Alice’ navigates through several layers of mourning, to create a portrait of lamentation from several vantage points.
No strangers to addressing uncomfortable topics through songwriting, Imaginary People previously released a full-length album rife with political undertones, ‘Dead Letterbox.’ But the five-piece group find themselves laying out much more personal material in October Alice, with a raw grittiness that can be felt in each component in each song. Creating this album was as much about the process as it was about the finished product; it is the result of an intentional healing process for emotional wounds deep below the skin.