We’re staying local again today with another pickup out of the new arrival bin at Easy Street Records, this time with Seattle’s own Intelligence. Apparently the band’s lead singer Lars Finberg used to work at a former Seattle music institution, Cellophane Square, the place where I cut my teeth on vinyl and amassed most of my Sub Pop records back in high school and college and which has unfortunately gone the way of the dodo, another victim of the CD and digital age. RIP, Cellophane Square.
I’d never heard of Intelligence (insert joke here) prior to running across their 2004 debut Boredom and Terror, but their local ties and descriptions as both lo-fi and post-punk were enough to convince me trade some of my hard earned cash for their record. Unfortunately while I thought it was cool that I found the red vinyl version of the record, what was decidedly uncool was realizing that this originally came with a CD that included 11 additional songs, which of course was nowhere to be found. So there’s that. But no worries because I’m pretty sure the 13 tracks on the record are more than enough for me.
Don’t take the above as a dis (at least not necessarily). It’s just that this is some jarring and challenging music. Lo-fi doesn’t do it justice. The first song on side B, “The Night Belongs to Microphones,” is a perfect example of the band’s music, and sounds like an old, later era Beatles album that was being played back on a reel-to-reel tape that had probably been left out in the sun for way too long before being unceremoniously dropped into a bucket of water, in which it was then played. The songs have that kind of warped quality with repetitive, sharp beats many of which are almost certainly drum machine generated and that would probably make for a seriously bad acid trip.
My favorite two tracks bookend the album. The side A opener “The World is a Drag” is defined by it’s chorus of “Who gives a fuck if the world is a drag?” while the side B closer “Weekends in Jail” is by far the catchiest and poppiest on the record, sounding very much like a 60s garage pop song. On the opposite end of the spectrum is “Spellers and Counters,” an insistent, incessant number that made me what to jam a screwdriver in my ear, which is not what you’re looking for in your music.
I doubt this one will get a lot more play – it’s interesting, but not terribly appealing other than a few tracks, and even then only in small doses.