Intelligence Un-Psychedelic in Peavey City LP

Back in 2015, I read an MRR  review of Vintage Future (the INTELLIGENCE’s previous LP) where the reviewer lamented the band’s pivot to “blog rock.” At the time, I was hitting the Lars Finberg Kool-Aid pretty hard—not only did he helm one of my favorite active bands in the INTELLIGENCE, but he had been involved in so many other projects that I loved (A FRAMES, DIPERS, PUBERTY, THEE OH SEES)—so I had trouble understanding how someone could dislike anything he’d put out. A lifetime has passed since then, which has allowed me to see this as a fair assessment. I’m probably still higher on that LP than the reviewer, but it’s certainly a much more sedate affair than you would expect given their past trajectory. Unfortunately, this latest album travels even further down the soft rock avenue, and I’m having difficulty finding much to enjoy. It pains me to say this, but the LP sounds like BECK at his sleepiest or some of the lamer FUGAZI records that appeal to folks who go to Burning Man. I’m willing to grant that Lars’s songwriting has matured in ways that I should learn to appreciate, and I wouldn’t want to sentence him to a life of endlessly cranking out iterations of Icky Baby or Males. Still, I need something with more bite than this.