The Agent Intellect

The Agent Intellect

Beneath the lurching rhythms and cryptic lyrics, Protomartyr’s take on post-punk has always been more bar band than art school, the work of four Midwestern guys slugging it out in a dim corner at the edge of the world. Their ambitious third album strikes a balance between driving melodicism (“Dope Cloud,” “The Devil in His Youth”) and strange yet searing nocturnes (“Boice or Boyce,” “Why Does it Shake?”) that stretch out toward mysterious conclusions. Half the time, singer Joe Casey sounds like he stumbled into the frame by accident, making his romantic turns (“Ellen”) that much more arresting.

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