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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Agent Sparks - Red Rover

Name: Agent Sparks
Album: Red Rover
Year: 2006
Style: 90's Alternative dream-pop
Similar Bands: Belly, Semisonic, Eels, Pixies, Radio-Muse
"One Word" Review: Shoegazing-Rock
Based Out Of: Calabasas (LA), Cali
Label: Immortal Records
Red Rover - Cover, CD & Inside Tray
Red Rover - Back, Liner Notes
Red Rover - Liner Notes
Red Rover - Liner Notes

Red Rover (2006)
  1. Waving By 3:01
  2. Polly Anne 2:54
  3. Face the Day 4:01
  4. Make Up Friend 3:14
  5. Maybe Tomorrow 2:59
  6. Funny Foolish 2:37
  7. Mr. Insecurity 3:21
  8. Camouflage 3:19
  9. Peeping Tommy 4:00
  10. Beautiful True 4:00
  11. Razorhand 4:55
Album Rating (1-10):

Members & Other Bands:
Benjamine Einziger - Lead Vox, Guitars (Audiovent)
Stephanie Eitel - Lead Vox, Keys
Paul Fried - Bass, Vox (Audiovent)
George Purviance - Drums
Michael Einziger - producer (Incubus)
Karl Egsieker- Mix & Engineer
Rick Will - Engineer
Sam Farrar - Production
Noah Passovoy - Engineer
Paul Figueroa - Asst Engineer
Jun Murakawa - Asst Engineer
Nancy Stevens - Management
Ted Whitacre - Guitar/Bass tech
Brantley Guitierrez - Photography
Mark Steez - Cover Art
Sons of Nero - Layout & Design

Unknown-ness: This was another part of the CD mail package. I've never heard of these guys. The chaotic artwork, and messy over all appearance, makes me assume the music is going to be all over the place fuzzed out "alternative" type music, garage rock or stripped down punk. The live band images are all over the place too, from indie rockabilly to jam band hippy grunge.

Album Review: “Waving By” is the first introduction to Agent Sparks, and it starts out heavy and thick, like 90’s alternative’s Screaming Trees. The dual male & female vocals are streamlined and overlap in harmony. It has a lovely flowing mood, almost shoe-gazing pop, but there is more concrete melody behind the droning guitars and atmosphere. “Polly Anne” is an attack of single note bass played over and over, dreamy guitar is over-layed, and the vocals add a new level of direction for the melody. It is like driving fast through a daze. The chorus of repeating “Polly Anne” is a gear shift up in speed and aggression. The breakdown section showcases female vocals, energized and excited. The song ends quietly, and makes me think of the Eels. “Face the Day” is a driving drum beat behind atmospheric whooshing. The guitars begin along side the vocals, making a typical dream-pop song. “Make Up Friend” feels like a song from the Belly catalogue, with a male singer in the background. It is jangley, and still dreamy in production. It gets aggressive in the chorus, rocking out like the harder alternative music ala Nirvana. ”Maybe Tomorrow” is an alt-country acoustic campfire song. His vocals are similar to that of Semisonic or The Eels. It gains energy as it goes along, but it just becomes a more elaborate campfire sing-a-long. “Funny Foolish” begins with dreamy (have I said this word enough?) female vocals over a drudgingly sleepy beat. As with the rest of the songs, more energy is picked up by the chorus, this time with fuzzed out, chugging guitars. “Mr. Insecurity” follows with a more upbeat, 90’s alternative rocking tune. The vocals remind me of the little that I know the Pixies & Pavement, but I think that much of this music is reminiscent of both of their styles. And this song especially reminds me of Enon. “Camouflage” is an eerie slow stomp through fuzz and somewhat evil melodies. There are some Radiohead/muse style vocals in the breakdown toward the end, and it ends with harmonizing their voices. “Peeping Tommy” begins with sultry, sexy Jennifer Charles (or Hope Sandoval if you like) type vocals. It is a slow, Luna style slow space pop song. “Beautiful True” is in the spirit again of Radio-Muse (as well as the Eels) in pace, tempo and especially male vocals. There is a Mazzy Star style honky-tonk country slide guitar used for a sweaty, dusty mystifying effect. “Razorhand” continues in the slow ambient, drudging spirit achieved on the second half of the album (where the first half was 90’s alternative). A bouncy bass and fuzz guitars dot the blurry soundscape.

Stand Out Track:

Agent Sparks Allmusic
Agent Sparks Myspace
Agent Sparks Wikipedia
Agent Sparks Website
Agent Sparks Purevolume
Agent Sparks Podcast soundcrank
Agent Spark interview on Decoy
Agent Sparks Subinev

1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting, reading your reactions to my cast-offs. :-)