By Jessica Helen Brant
Indie alternative R&B/hip hop group AGENCY first appeared on everyone’s radar with their Sony Music award-winning covers of classics like The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and other songs by artists like Leonard Cohen and Madonna. They wowed us with their 20 plus collection of flashing font lyric videos on YouTube and gospel-like dance fever sound. Now, they’ve got us entrenched in their first full-length album and self-described autobiographical project Identity (Prod. Ant LaRock), which no one genre can define. I’m sure this project will invite the same response their seven track conceptual EP PolitiKARAMA received back in November. Below are some tracks off their new album that deserve a toasting to.
Track #3 – Experiment
Experiment is the kind of song you’d hear rolling with the credits at the end of an episode of the sci-fi series Black Mirror, or during a Sundance film documenting a distorted but sizzling romance between two addicts on the run. The emotional intensity and technical currency of the album outweighs its commercial value, though. The Boho SoCo meets East Manhattan barfly trajectory of acoustics is what makes the track. Peep the lyric video below.
Track #4 – Crave
Crave is “a different kind of danger” for sure. It’s most definitely a love letter addressed to the ice queens, shoulda coulda wouldas, and the pent-up libertines of the world. It gives off a little bit of the frustration you would feel in a situation like that. The only way to make a connection is to be the connection or the moment is lost. Lose yourself to give yourself.
Track #11 – Sanctuary
Sanctuary is a sophisticated R&B track that you can immerse yourself in comfortably. Peel back the layer of deep house influences and find yourself surfing. Listen for the 90s dreamy club, Real McCoy and Crystal Waters breakbeatyness before the chorus. The tightness of composition is unwound in the switch up of rhythms and you can just press forward with them. Catch the drumline sound at the end. Creative.
Track #5 – Words
Words contains an instrumental narrative that is simply mind-blowing that it falls under the category of “dame trapped in the bell tower all emotional and intuitive under pressure” on the scale of musical symphoniousness. Each of the tracks on the album are lyrical and deeply soaked in a spiritual bisque. This is my favorite of the slower tempos.
AGENCY is one of my top indie groups to watch for, with a mix of music worthy of a spot on your Spotify playlist. The rest of Identity is far from ferial; these tracks just happen to be the ones I gravitated to first. AGENCY is vocal about using music as an agency for change. While I would not describe their musical directon as politically or socially radical (neither would they I don’t believe), I would definitely describe their sound as humanitarian. I think they just want the best for everyone. Check out the visual short for their track “Join In,” also off the album, which is a pretty good summation of the group’s musical character: