In The Red Records
The Intelligence is a surf noise, art scuzz, garage four-piece from Seattle. If that made sense to you, please stop reading and reexamine your life. On their fourth full length release, The Intelligence, like many of their label mates, move away from their noisy origins and accept their pop eventuality. The visceral urgency and hot noise skull fuckery that dominated previous efforts such as Icky Baby has now been swapped for cool, ironic detachment, if not total resignation.
Logic dictates that abandoning the noise shtick and presenting the songs in a straightforward fashion would render the band more accessible; but the truth is, the band’s intentions appear more cryptic than ever – poppy hooks instead of noise militancy. Have The Intelligence sold out?
Fittingly, the essence of Fake Surfers seems to reside in the album art – this is one of those rare, blissful occasions where judging a book by its cover is wholly apt. The front cover overflows with hackneyed punk clichés: a do-it-yourself collage, a total disregard for professionalism, arbitrary repetitions of letters, and the laughable play on words “THE MODERN IDIOM; THE MODERN IDIOT.” For a band named The Intelligence, this cover is downright moronic, not to mention is a rip off another “enchanted” cover. So then, is this sincerity, or postmodernism? Are they giving in to the punk stereotype, or lampooning it? This uncertainty is the drive behind the album.
Lyrically, Fake Surfers is the band’s strongest release. Lars Finberg, the band’s lyricist and primary composer, writes in what I deem “punk haiku.” He is an aesthete, preoccupied with the sound of his verses, rather than their content. The lyrics oscillate between the mundane and surreal often within a single line.
In the end, Fake Surfers attempts true self containment, while recognizing the futility of such a feat.
Give these tracks a listen: “Pony People,” “Thank You God for Fixing the Tape Machine“
For fans of: The Fall, Braniac
– Boris Freyman