The Agency… – The Last Time
“The Last Time” sounds like an earnest, loving attempt to outspook Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds, no doubt mentors to the authors in question. Air siren guitar sounds open the tune as ominous as the sombre picture of the artwork for The Agency’s recent single would suggest.
It takes more than a sense of dissatisfaction to compete with Cave and his equally fatalistic henchmen. Luckily, singing duties on the track are handled knowledgeably, part dark ritual recitation, part folk-rocker.
We spend two minutes on a slow-moving, darkly-lit instrumental that does not allow the rest of the instruments to do too much, but then a large, dirge-like chorus does appear before the tune is washed back into the dark waters once more.
The song rocks back and forth in this way before a final, grand statement of disheartenment finally finishes it off. The Agency makes the kind of Haunted House music where you’re invited to join.
The Faded Out – Down the Drain
The Faded Out’s music reminds me of an old children’s toy, partially broken, yet still dignified. Here’s a group that plays with some of the dynamics most often quoted in rock music. Their music is soft, the vocals are low, forcing you to listen. But, finally, loud choruses do eventually find their way into the mix. The band’s bio proclaims their vision of creating music of light and darkness, a desire which echoes Jimmy Page’s original sonic objectives.
Similar to peeping through a kaleidoscope, there is no grand finale or life-altering statement to be found in “Down the Drain“. It is, however, music that repays the ardent, determined listener, willing to live with these sounds for a significant portion of their day.
Fans of hypnotic, psychedelic-Joy Division sounding groups, could do well to bring The Faded Out into their mind-altering playlists.