The Upshot: Deep, dark secrets from the depths of Vancouver psychedelia that will no doubt lead to even bolder musical waters.
BY JONATHAN LEVITT
The Intelligence Service, hailing from Vancouver, kick it up a notch on their debut LP, incorporating tracks from their 2016 EP Maladies (reviewed at BLURT). The band offers up eight tracks for this round, and the results are a focused, filler-free LP that has a psychedelic edge to it.
“Driving to My Sun” is a great opener for a record that quickly dives into a deeper more frenetic state of mind. The following track “School Me” has that cool Ivy and Lux Interior vibe to it stretched over distorted bass and guitar. “Bilge (Help Me)” feels like a direct descendant of the Dandy Warhol’s “Nietzsche”. The repetitive growl and semi-undecipherable lyrics gives a sense that on the good ship, Intelligence Service, the bilge is where the deepest and darkest secrets are kept. Here Alex and cohorts excel at creating a stifling atmosphere as this lyric “Jesus can’t help me” rings out. “Broken Raft (Bobby Says)” lays bare the emotional discomfort we all feel as we ride one pummeling wave after the other through this existence. It’s a powerful image being pushed out to sea, like the final scene in Jim Jarmusch’s film Dead Man. “Call the Doctor” is the punkiest number on the record and my least favorite, despite being filled with some great organ courtesy of Heather Campbell. Closing cut “Distraction (Here Comes Dror)” shows off the talent that the band possesses.
Overall, it’s a well-wrought record, but may I suggest that the band start exploring the atmosphere they know how to create by making longer-form numbers. (Take, for example, Tame Impala’s Currents album.) Directionally, working with Chris Woodhouse has served them well, but now it’s up to them to steer the ship towards even bolder musical waters.
DOWNLOAD: “Distraction” “Bilge” “Broken Raft”