Yay, more stoner rock! That's a lie actually because I'm not a fan of 'stoner' music, be it doom or rock or whatever. But once again in the name of journalistic integrity I am willing to give this a go. It has happened before that I was pleasantly surprised by an act in a genre that most of the time isn't my cup of tea.
Intercostal is a 4-piece 'progressive stoner' outfit from Geneva, Switzerland. Before I start I have to say: I always wonder what makes music 'progressive'. Is it by juxtaposing genres that normally wouldn't fit together? Is it because the genre you are making 'progressive' is a conservative genre? Is it because of 'difficult' rhythms or melodies? Is it because the musicians are highly skilled and übertechnical in their field? I'm not sure which of these categories Intercostal can be classified in. Maybe in all of them?
What I do know after a few listens is that 'progressive' doesn't necessarily mean 'interesting'. Because for all the craftsmanship and obvious talent Intercostal has, they fail to excite me. Think of it as a stoner version of bands like Isis, Mastodon and Baroness. If that makes you feel very excited then Intercostal is probably for you. What it lacked for me is diversity in the sound. All of the songs, while competently played and punchy in sound, all sounded the same to me. Guitartone, shifting rhythms, the typical stoner melodies.. I don't mind listening to similar sounding things when the similarities are between bands, I do mind however if what I'm hearing is sounding pretty much the same as the song before it. There's a very big 'déjà entendu' feeling between the songs. Sure, there are other genres where this happens too, but those genres have, for me at least, other redeeming factors. There are a few cool pieces including one that borders on black metal ("Lay down arms") and some tanpura drone ("Tons of humans") but they are so brief it's hardly worth mentioning.
Maybe I am being unfair here. Most likely I am. Most of the time music either 'does it' for you, or it doesn't. Intercostal didn't 'do it' for me. I'm pretty sure that people who are into the aforementioned bands will find Intercostal a worthy addition to their collection. But reviews aren't always about that and sometimes I have to be blunt and just say I didn't like it. I can appreciate the technical abilities of Intercostal and the production sounds spot-on, but I need more. And they didn't provide.