Un-Psychedelic in Peavey City

Vapid Moonlighting Inc.


Still panting from their installment in CASTLE FACE’s Live In San Francisco series (where they ran a greatest hits clinic for basement sweat-rats) and from mega-mind LARS FINBERG’s outside solo oddballer, Moonlight Over Bakersfield, THE INTELLIGENCE return in neuveau mode with Un-Psychedelic In Peavey City, their 10th studio album-amalgam.  Load up on electrolytes, all ye who enter here…

The customary tin/aluminum milestone won’t fit this true band of steel:  the current Intelligence iteration is most forceful and dynamic of any line-up in the project’s history.  Although each performer has been smeared across myriad recordings and tours for years, the now-time assemblage of DREW CHURCH (bass), DAVE HERNANDEZ (guitar) and KAANAN TUPPER (drums) currently positions The Intelligence as a world-class unit, with members playing in partnership with conductor Finberg rather than at his sometimes-service.  Lars is giving the back-rubs now, not getting ‘em — a delightful & cruel twist. 

There’s no aspect of Un-Psychedelic In Peavey City that tilts toward phoned-in safe plays, no easy feat for a 10-albums-deep unit.  For this collection, the band cast off the comforts of their traditional cosmopolitan haunts (Sacramento, Costa Mesa, etc.) in favor Grass Valley’s Louder Studios, a wilderness recording burg (OK OK, with a pool, yes) helmed by TIM GREEN, a twiddler maestro who has assisted BIKINI KILL, MELVINS, COMETS ON FIRE, WAND and countless others in sterling fashion.  The resultant recordings are the most expansive Intelligence material imaginable — perhaps Un-Psychedelic, but certainly free, playfully abstract and awesomely stretched out.  

In both arrangement and performance, The Intelligence sound more substantial than ever, rhythmically deeper, largely trading their punky bread-and-butter whip-cracks for something furrier and more adventurous.  “Auteur Detour” (a confirmed studio after-thought deemed by the band as a “No-Wave Santana” exercise!) prompts head-smacking in terms of the sounds being chased — you’ll wonder how they managed to catch ‘em and why it works so wonderfully.  The familiarity of “Mute Me” — snake-surf guitars exploding and retreating, with Finberg gnashing against perceptions of his own oeuvre — is uncloaked and infinitely more severe take than keen followers could be prepared for.  “Immolationin’” turns all manner of earthly malaise into sea-breeze soul-flow, closing the album somewhere between hope and end-times resignation.  

A tune for our times if there ever was one.  Un-Psychedelic perfectly captures a new Intelligence:  nearly re-born, entirely invigorated, free from wet heaving, ruling Peavey City.  

Mitch Cardwell

Soggy Encampment, CA