Murder City Devils

Murder City Devils

Unlike most punk acts of the '90s who travel along punk/pop and alternative ways of the rock genre, the Murder City Devils choose to stay in control of their riffs. Keeping a strong presence of simple features of pure rock & roll, the Devils finish up showing clean yet raw compositions, supposedly connecting them to the punk style. It was in Seattle (WA) in 1996 that vocalist Spencer Moody, guitarist Dann Gallucci, bassist Derek Fudesco, drummer Coady Willis, and Nate Manny (guitar, bass) ended up forming the Murder City Devils. Later, keyboardist Leslie Hardy joined. The Devils broke up in 2001 with an incendiary farewell to their hometown crowd on Halloween night. They have since performed 4 reunion shows; two in Seattle in 2006 and two in Austin in 2007. In late 2009 the entire original lineup reformed for a series of West Coast shows which carried into a series of East Coast shows in 2010.

The Intelligence

Fittingly born at the dawn of the 21st Century, The Intelligence’s brand of art-smarm surf has become a touchstone for with-it rock ’n’ roll of the era. Perhaps a surprising assertion, especially considering their primitive and personal origins, but one cemented by the dedication and continual reinvention fostered by main-brain Lars Aldric Finberg. For all their longevity and prolificacy, The Intelligence is a restless, ever-evolving vehicle for Finberg, showcasing his presumably patented knack for sharp pop songwriting that rides waves from both the past and heretofore unknown. Hence the emergence of Vintage Future, the band’s latest album.

Finberg has always playfully flashed fangs with The Intelligence, but the hard targeting here makes Vintage Future the most thematically biting offering thus far. Across the record, Finberg combs over relationships, ambitions and his own values for trouble spots and indignities, highlighting his findings and skewering as needed. Jabs at the absurdities of band life have been a focus since The Intelligence’s inception, but tunes like “Nocturnal Admissions,” “Refuse to Pay the Dues” (a sure-fire cornerstone of any Greatest Hits package assembled) and “Platinum Janitor” confront living in rock ’n’ roll with an honesty bordering on the sadistic. Songs like “Sex” and “Whip My Valet” (the band’s most singularly aggressive and punk moment ever) manage to be intensely personal ruminations, nervously humorous and all-out rockers simultaneously, all with a wink.

It’s precisely that charm coupled with intensity that makes The Intelligence so crave-worthy. Well, that and the copious panic-stabs of guitar. Vintage Future thankfully shows The Intelligence continuing to move in whatever goddamn direction they want, keeping it permanently casual in this inhuman Business That We Call Show. Is there any better way?

—Mitch Cardwell, July 2015



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