The Intelligence – Everybody’s Got It Easy But MePosted by Alexis Diltz
Everybody’s Got it Easy But Me is an explosion of garage punk and thrash that would be an ideal soundtrack to a party where a spiked drink turns the crowd into werewolves. The Intelligence quickly barrels through the dance-inspiring album from beginning-to-end with the help of aggressive tempos and relentless guitar loops that sound like they’re out for blood. Maybe it’s the relatively quiet levels, the monotone melodies, call-and-answer harmonies or the unexpected interludes, but as the voices weave in and out, Lars Finberg and the band ooze a disturbing psychedelic vibe of detachment.
The songs are all about the band’s energy. The verses nearly trick the audience into thinking a pop tune is about to unfold, but the choruses consistently cut that dream short and launch into noise rock that seems to say: move. But it’s probably best not to take your cue on where or how from the lyrics, which are actually fairly dark – “I live in a plastic bag / Where nothing’s ever sad / But it’s miserable.”
“I Like LA,” “Evil Is Easy,” “The Entertainer” and “(They Found Me In The Back Of) The Galaxy” are a hurricane of rapid yet repetitive guitar and bass lines. The band dives in head first with determined beats that are nerve-wracking but also enticing, especially when paired with the sprinkling of build-ups and pauses. “I Like LA” is consumed by a section when Finberg simply counts to 44 and then introduces the band. It’s an appropriate opener to Everybody’s Got it Easy But Me – it hints that a showy circus of an album is in store. Sudden bouts of pure silence through “Dim Limelights” are just enough to jolt you back awake and into the faster and serious orbit of The Intelligence.
Just when you come to terms with the kind of ride you’re in for, “Techno Tuesday” starts a series of intros that throw the album askew from the general tropes of the genre. The song starts in a poetic, soft manner and is slowly loaded with guitar strumming, reverb and a simple melody. The serenity is of course shattered moments later, but arrives again in the delicate guitar and magical homage to Elton John’s “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” and a familiar landslide of “ah’s” in “Fidelity.” Desolate lyrics like “Every part of me has died / And is soaking in wine,” along with the guitar twang and floating choral section make the song jump out at you with grace. These sudden shifts from the overwhelmingly post-punk groove can be jarring.
“Little Town Flirt” may be an even sorer spot of cohesiveness within the album. But the ‘50s sound and country growl is almost too full of misplaced sunshine for that to matter. And it’s certainly a welcome sound break among the taunting melodies and dizzying guitar in the majority of the album. Emotion finally kicks in here in the vocals, which drip with character and sing a little hometown traditional warning of cat-and-mouse love games.
The similarity between a number of songs on the album might feel like too much of a good thing for new-comers to the band. But for devoted followers, the direct and choppy quality of the instruments and dismissal of extreme lo-fi production makes for a fresh take on what is their 8th album. Everybody’s Got it Easy But Me works to keep up The Intelligence’s sense of creativity in their fusion of styles and non-traditional song structures.