It took the Delines five years to deliver The Imperial, the sequel to their 2014 debut, Colfax. Much of the delay can be explained by a car accident singer Amy Boone suffered in March 2016, but the delay wound up working in the band's favor, as it gave time for songwriter/guitarist Willy Vlautin to craft an extraordinary set of ten songs. Whenever he's not slinging a guitar, Vlautin is a novelist, a talent evident in how the songs on The Imperial are built upon evocative, telling details that create their own little world; the ten tracks play like interconnected short stories, not songs. Such nuances reward close listening, but The Imperial also invites repeated plays thanks to its luxurious, late-night sway. Moving slowly but deliberately, the Delines dwell upon the lingering, lasting melancholy of bad decisions and bad timing, creating an album ideal for the twilight moments when revisiting an old heartbreak proves to be irresistible.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine