By Reid Oakley
VANCOUVER – The music of the Intelligence Service is like an auditory time machine with the dial broken off and the volume cranked; careening you forward with fuzzed out guitars and catchy organ riffs overtop plush basslines and drums that echo around your chest. At the same time though reaching back through the wormhole; retracing roots with a jittery blend of raucous punk drive, and a foot firmly planted in the psychedelic San Francisco sound.
Discussing the trajectory of the band, lead singer and guitarist of the group Alex Pen, makes it clear that they’re an act who’ve made it this far by quality of their work not who they know, and that going the indie route is always more rewarding than following the path. With their EP Maladies having been released through Weiner Records, an off shoot of California based company Burger, they’re going it alone this time with their new full length LP, Transgressors.
“Maladies was supposed to be just a demo EP and what ended up happening was Sean at Burger Records really liked it and encouraged us to put it out as a cassette. This one’s self released, I thought about approaching labels and things …There are certain labels I’d be willing to work with cause they allow you to keep the master and they’ll work with you, but some of the others, they take way too much.”
Recorded by producer Chris Woodhouse, the man responsible for helping fine tune the sound of some of the biggest indie rock acts in recent years such as Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, The Intelligence Service was keen to make the pilgrimage down to The Dock in Sacramento to record their latest release“He was fantastic, we ended up becoming really good friends, and he was the perfect person to record the [album] because I’d be saying ‘oh you know I kind of want to this..’ and he would finish the sentence, he knew exactly the sound I wanted and what I wanted to do”
For a band that is still relatively new, they’ve quickly established themselves as an original force, gaining a following along the coast, garnering air time on KEXP and other American radio, and as well receiving acclaim from countries as far as Scotland and Norway. Blending new wave psychedelic rock with shoegaze and classic garage punk, this new album is a release of anger, joy, and introspection, while looking to connect with people and bring freedom back to the music.
“I think that generally being creative and getting your ideas out, and communicating is a subversive act, that’s why most regimes will go after the artists and the intellectuals… Any creative activity is a form of communication and so you want to communicate with a broader audience if possible, so people can resonate.”
The Intelligence Service perform April 27 at the Cobalt.Intelligence Service, The Cobalt, The Intelligence Service