Let’s face it. Local bands that dare to do original music have a tough go of it in South Florida. If you don’t have at least a couple of Billy Joel songs in your repertoire and a willingness to do your own take on “Play That Funky Music White Boy” at every possible opportunity, you’re hindered from the start. So when a group like The Int’
l Language comes along, you tend to forgive the vague moniker and appreciate their musical intents instead. Especially since the band — Bob "Other Bob" Neitz (guitar, vocals), Steve Imas
(bass, vocals), Bob Rich (sax), and Jeff Flanders (drums) are as assured as they are inspired.
The band has released two recordings to date — an untitled EP and a self-titled full-length album, each an inspired mesh of the members’ individual influences and preference for styles ranging from jazz and blues to classic rock, funk, and punk in equal proportion.
“We are sort of a jambalaya when it comes to our influences, and for that reason our sound is unlike any other band on the local scene,” Imas
says. “Other Bob and I are the lead writers, and we both gather inspiration from our life experiences conceptually and lyrically. Whoever conceives the song will present it to the others, and then each member develops his own part in the overall arrangement. We have lovely musical chemistry when it comes to collaborating.”
Still, despite any suggestion that all is simply serendipity, Imas
also admits that the group’s varied and admittedly eclectic choices don’t always make for immediate acceptance, especially when it comes to entertaining local audiences.
“The support in South Florida waxes and wanes, and it has since our inception,” Imas
says. “However, our friends have been very supportive.” Imas
adds that the band regularly gigs throughout the tricounty area and occasionally as far south as Marathon.
Friday night at Fort Lauderdale's Dive Bar, the band releases Inter-Galactic Transmission
, its first new album in three years. Recorded with the assistance of Jeff Martin, chief engineer at Simple Kill Studios in Fort Lauderdale, the new album again reflects the Int’l Language’s broad musical palette and its stylistic savvy. Despite its relative brevity — the album boasts only eight songs — it’s both assured and accessible, a sturdy mix of pop, jazz, and old-school R&B.
As confident as the band is and as passionate as its members are about its songs, its ambitions are modest at best.
“First and foremost, we want to enjoy ourselves and continue to write music we find enjoyable," Imas
says. "Our goal is to keep gigging, perhaps do a minitour
here and there, and eventually gain some credence as a solid local act. If we grow beyond that, we would certainly welcome it, but we don't have our sights set on the Grammys just yet. We all have our day jobs, and like the saying goes, we’re not about to quit them just yet.”
The Int’l Language host a CD-release party at 9:30 p.m. Friday, August 28, at the Dive Bar, 3233 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-565-9264.