Not to belabor the point, but the new Intelligence album is easily the best record I’ve heard this year. Last night at the Wild Rose the best band in Seattle (well at least my favorite band in Seattle) played their record release gig before setting off for two months in Europe where I can only imagine they are huge stars. They should be huge stars here in their hometown, but as you probably already know the world is not right.
The Wildrose is pretty much a lesbian bar that becomes a DIY venue on random weekend nights. The stage, if you can call it that, is in the front window of the bar that faces Pike and 11th Ave so that people walking by can stop and gaze in through the big windows. Last night I noticed quite a few people stopping and looking quizzically through the window wondering why we were all packed into this makeshift venue watching this unassuming band. If I wasn’t so enthralled with the show, I would have gone out and dragged everyone of those pedestrians into the bar, because the Intelligence were putting on a clinic. They were tight, and tightly wound, piercing and fractured in all the right ways. Before blasting into Universal Babysitter,Lars Finberg, responding to someone’s earlier comment that they sounded like the Ventures quipped, now this one sounds like the Ventures. Along with a lot of other things the Intelligence have a twangy surf sound that is reminiscent of that Tacoma band. Finberg also has this uncanny ability to write songs that are so out there, but seem to constrain themselves to the unwritten rules of the pop song. It’s probably not a formula for becoming huge, but he at least has the undying fandom of like-minded warped-pop nerds like myself.
The band stuck to a tightly choreographed set, that included covers of Thee Oh Sees’ Block of Ice and Wounded Lion’s Pony People. Most of the set highlighted the new album Fake Sufers but they pulled gems like The Universe from their album first Boredom and Terror and Like Like Like, etc. from their Raw Delux 7 inch. They threw in a request for Moon Beebs and then ended with Confidence from Icky Baby which had everyone around me, to my surprise raising their arms and pumping their fists to the air and chanting the chorus. I don’t know if it was the setting or just the plane fact that they’ve got a pack of killer new songs but this was the best Intelligence gig I’ve yet to see.
I’ve got more photos and the set list over at my Flickr. If you’re in Europa, then you have a chance to see these Seattleites in May and June, tour dates at their MySpace. New album number one Fake Surfers is due in May on In the Red. In the meantime, you can get new album number two Crepuscule With Pacman is now out on Born Bad over in La France.