When you think about it, 2011 wasn’t all that long ago. And yet, for a band like Masked Intruder, it seems like eons ago. Who would have thought that four years ago a band that dressed up in color coordinated criminal outfits could be one of the biggest (that’s debatable, I suppose) acts on Fat Wreck Chords? Clearly Red Scare head Tobias Jeg did- which is likely why he quickly scooped them up for their first album (before they were even more quickly picked up by Fat). To celebrate everything that has happened to the band in the last four years, Toby has re-released the band’s very first recordings- a four song demo, newly christened Incriminating Evidence – 2011 Demos.
Of the four songs here, three of them have been re-recorded for later albums. Both “How Do I Get to You?” and “I’m in (Unrequited) Love” were included on the band’s 2012 self-titled album (the former also appeared on the band’s First Offense EP, and the latter was shortened to simply “Unrequited Love”), and “I Fought the Law (But the Law Beat the Shit Out of Me)” showed up on the band’s sophomore effort, M.I., leaving “I Plead the 5th” as the sole track to remain exclusive to this release and therefore the only “new” song of the bunch to any newcomers to the band that haven’t already heard this EP.
For a demo recording, the production is solid here. It’s not as slick-sounding as M.I., but it’s on par with First Offense and maybe even Masked Intruder, so it’s curious as to why these songs are labeled as demos (also worth noting: these versions don’t sound all that different from their studio counterparts). Some might be disappointed with the lack of material that hasn’t already been re-recorded, but Incriminating Evidence provides a lot of support that Masked Intruder has always had a strong sense of bubblegum pop melodies, and maybe that, gimmick or not, they were destined for success from the start.
4.5 / 5
RIYL: Teenage Bottlerocket, Direct Hit!, House Boat