Around since 1999, The Intelligence has to date released seven singles, five split singles, two EPs, seven albums and have made eight compilation appearances. They join the ranks of hyper-prolific artists like Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall in the impossible-to-stay-on-top-of department. That said, like the aforementioned artists, with each release The Intelligence continues to evolve, grow artistically and top themselves. And, yes, you do need to keep up with all the releases.
With Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me, The Intelligence do indeed top themselves. As with their previous album, Males from 2010, they returned to The Hangar with Chris Woodhouse to record, and they continue to jettison their deliberately blown-out, lo-fi recording approach for a much clearer sound. Not that there’s any loss of intensity. The band’s scrambling post-punk guitars, dry-as-a-bone drums and laconically abstract verses are all here, viewed through an unusually clear lens. If one didn’t have the songs or the chops, this sort of thing could reveal weakness but here it highlights their knack for catchy songs that incorporate pop hooks, metronomically repetitive guitar riffs, and new wavey synth moves. For those who haven’t been paying attention, The Intelligence are the brainchild of Lars Finberg (formerly of A-Frames, currently of Thee Oh Sees and Wounded Lion). Initially a studio project in which Finberg played all instruments on his home recordings, the band soon began to play live and tour, while the releases volleyed between solo and ensemble recordings. On Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me, Finberg goes for a mixed approach. Having recently relocated to Los Angeles, he assembled an LA lineup of the band—but since he still spends time in his original home base of Seattle, he has retained a separate lineup in that city as well. For this new album, he uses them both…and does some songs all by himself. He also invited a number of guests to come in and add to it. The result is the most varied yet cohesive Intelligence album to date.