Maybe it’s because they were both, at a time, labelmates on In The Red, or maybe it’s because their music is rooted in melody-driven and low-fidelity sixties pop, but for some reason, The Intelligence has always occupied the same record shelf in my mind as lo-fi garage poster boy Ty Segall. The Intelligence has historically been a bit more experimental and less noisy than Ty Segall, but both seem to express and even nurture their own personal weirdness — to their listeners’ benefit — through pop songs. Everybody wins.
All musicians evolve, though, and as Segall has veered more in the direction of psychedelia and glam (see 2014’s Manipulator), The Intelligence have skipped a decade or so and delved straight into post-punk and new wave. Vintage Future is a 2015 record that might as well be one of those recently unearthed, obscure new wave re-issues from the mid-eighties. Come to think of it, it’s perhaps one of the more aptly titled albums to be released of late.
True to the band’s form, Vintage Future by no means adheres to strictly one genre. The blistering “Whip My Valet” has an almost (almost) ska feel to it, while “Cleaning Lady” is a dark, plodding take on post-punk and techno, driven by screeching guitars and a relentless bass line for a heartbeat. And the title track, in which frontman Lars Finberg repeats “All that I want is a vintage future,” is itself an appropriate summation of the album as a whole: it seems to wander a bit around the central musical theme, thinly layered with dissonant chords, electronic bells, and even a string section near the end. But, it’s a pop song at heart.
Stream Vintage Future below. It’s available now via In the Red Records.