Intensive Care have been creeping around the Montreal music scene for quite some time. After releasing their first studio album Fairytales from the Island in 2009, under the production of Jace Lasek of fellow Montreal band The Besnard Lakes, they have been touring extensively and working on new material for their next album.
The group’s diversity is something of a hook, as its members hail from Lebanon, Canada and the United States. It’s a mélange that has shaped their upcoming EP It Takes Time, which will be released during their next gig at Casa Del Popolo on March 22.
The band says their new material was inspired by “endless debates about the state of contemporary society and the way eastern and western cultures interact,” an issue that each band member has struggled to overcome, both within the band, and through their assimilation into Montreal society.
“With It Takes Time and the LP to follow, we wanted to challenge the way society perceives modernity in a time when life is becoming unnaturally comfortable,” said lead singer, Philippe Manasseh, nervously smiling as he handles his shiny new iPhone.
Each member of Intensive Care brings a certain eclecticism to their craft. Lead guitarist, Nadim Maghzal is currently completing a PhD in cell and molecular biology and drummer Evan Tighe completed a bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in jazz studies.
“We often find each other at a loss for words when it comes to expressing ourselves and resolving conflicts, and often we misinterpret each other,” admits Manasseh.
Such a melting pot could cause tension, but instead, the boys of Intensive Care use it as a strength.
“When we play, all that goes away, and we just switch to a whole other mode of discussion,” he said.
But the band admits that the key to their success is compromise.
“Having to make sacrifices all the time is truly stimulating,” said Manasseh. “We believe strongly in making music that we like as a group and we all just happen to enjoy more complex pop music.”
Musically, their influences converge around indie rock bands like Wolf Parade, Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear, but Manasseh sees the group as independent and distinct.
“I truly think that our influences come mostly from non-musical art forms, such as movies, literature, comics and science,” he said. These outside influences played a crucial role in inspiring the writing process for all of their material, past and present.
“[The band] recorded the album in a manner that was as close to our live sound as possible,” explained Manasseh. “We used our own equipment, sang on a standard live microphone, and tried not to layer the songs to the point that we couldn’t perform them live.”
Check out Intensive Care at Casa Del Popolo on Thursday, March 22 at 8:30 p.m. for the release party of their new EP It Takes Time featuring guests The Golden Isles and Technical Kidman.