The Agent Intellect
Detroit’s Protomartyr write impactful post-punk songs without sounding like they give a shit. Deep thought and effort are evident in their infectious, hook-laden riffs and the compelling presence of singer/lyricist Joe Casey, yet it all comes across so offhand, you’d think nothing was at stake.
But The Agent Intellect is a multi-layered, emotive powerhouse of a record, undoubtedly influenced by how hard the band’s been working at their craft (three albums in three years and counting) and their drive to make the most of life. For Casey, who lost his dad to a heart attack and is losing his mother to Alzheimer’s, it’s proven healthy to look the world sternly in the eye and laugh in its face.
You can hear him grapple with evil (The Devil In His Youth), pointlessness (Pontiac 87) and our fragile minds and bodies (Why Does It Shake?) in a nuanced, disaffected manner conjuring both Ian Curtis and David Yow, while the band propels him with glorious chord progressions and visceral clatter. One of America’s best bands have made their greatest record, and it’s jaw-dropping.
Top track: Ellen
Protomartyr play the Horseshoe Sunday (October 11).