Rome's Stupid Brilliant Garage Punks
The Intellectuals have been making rock ‘n’ roll to puke to since 1999. The Roman quartet started as a duo and they’ve been gathering members and momentum all this time. Their current sound is like a bottle of fine old wine that’s been aged to perfection. Either that or it’s skunked beyond all recognition. It’s hard to say, but we insist you try some!
The the garage punks’s recently released fourth full-length In the Middle of Darkwhere is a clattering, buzzing masterpiece of negative capability. On it, they construct a dirty machinist’s country blues using only metal splinters and a bleak outlook on life. The hard metallic echo on the male/female vocals and the sprinkling of B-grade sci-fi sound effects strikes an indelicate balance between hooky post-punk and pure garage chaos.
There’s a lot of variety on the album but most songs fall somewhere between the dystopian noise rock of A Frames and the late Jay Reatard’s Memphis mess. Songs range from dark rockabilly on “A Cheap Religion” to upbeat stomp ‘n’ shout numbers like “Thirsty Dinosaur.” On “The Joke is on the Sun” it really sounds like someone is playing guitar with a piece of sheet metal.
Such genius has not gone unrecognized. The band has toured consistently with garage rock luminaries like River City Tanlines and Rock N Roll Adventure Kids, and their recordings receive the frothing, fawning reviews they truly deserve. When their live shows don’t descend irretrievably into madness, they are fast, fun affairs that easily top their recordings for sheer raging. We hope the encouragement they’ve gotten so far will be enough to keep them going for some time and that they’ll make it to a dive bar in your town soon.Though, listening to In the Middle of Darkwhere, you kind of get the feeling they don’t really need encouragement and that they aren’t tired either.
Photo courtesy of The Intellectuals.