TONIGHT – A G E N T (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Whilst some bands try to write music with an eye to influencing the future and others seem happy to plunder the past, A G E N T seem more than content to live in the moment both musically and, in the case of this track, lyrically. They feel like the most natural progression of everything that makes up the earlier rock canon before bands became too obsessed with studio gimmicks or their own image. You could have found something very similar loading into the back door of CBGBs in 1977, playing a punk squat in West London or opening for a California hardcore band in the mid eighties or even as a bottom of the bill act at Reading Festival in the nineties and  in any number of scenes and scenarios where the music was all that mattered.

With a minimal of musical enhancements, some deft guitar additions, wonderfully meandering bass runs and only the occasional act of dynamic change or quick drum fill, they get on with the job of delivering salvos of low-slung, two and three chord chops. But the clever thing here is that whilst they play the song fairly straight, there is just enough going on around its incendiary central sound to make you realise that the band are a lot more musically gifted than such a path might imply, they just chose not to bang on about it! A lesson many bands might learn from. And lyrically as well it is all about the here and now, TONIGHT being a celebration of these cherished and often fleeting encounters, whirlwind fragments of romance, in this case those brief moments of love, lust and longing on the dance floor, timeless, tender and all too transient.

As I have continuously pointed out when reviewing their releases over the past year or so, A G E N T exist at a point of collision between any number of rock ’n’roll sub genres, but the phrase that I think best fits, for now at least, is garage rock and if there is a better garage rock band operating on the circuit today then I’m yet to stumble across them. They brilliantly capture all the raw energy, swagger, verve and attitude of a small club band bursting out of their restrictive environment to take on the world. They are also a band who have worked out that the wheel doesn’t need re-inventing, it just needs a quick polish up, a re-tread and perhaps some fancy rims and then it’s ready to take out for a spin to leave some indelible and unsightly marks all over the road, possibly invoking an angry letter to the local newspaper from nearby residents. Buckle up; it is going to be one hell of a ride.

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