Punk wasn’t built in a day, but it probably didn’t take the whole weekend. And this is the attitude that lies at the heart of A G E N T’s music, get the job done and then get the hell out of there. Fuck This Noise, a typically uncompromising statement of intent, is the sound of that early punk swagger colliding with more fluid and florid rockisms, the former providing the balls and belligerence, the latter adding a step up in terms of musicality. Once you remember that punk was born kicking and screaming, literally, out of rock and roll in the first place, the UK version from Bowie obsessed art-students looking for a way out, the US strain coming from more street level garage rock mutations, you realise that Fuck This Noise is not so much a meeting of genres but more a re-alignment across the generations. It also shows that everything is rock and roll if you drive it hard enough and strip it clean. And this drives hard and is bad to the bone.
Advance releases should act as a teaser, a sonic signpost to a forth-coming bigger release, a taste of things to come. And on the face of it that is exactly what Stop Talking was in regards to this album as it landed in the review pile only a few days previous. But it is a curious record, a teaser certainly but its dichotomous nature, an opening minute of aggressive punk-metal that their Bay Area home patch has traded on since the early eighties, followed by a longer payout formed of drifting guitar lines and restrained vocals left many questions unanswered too. What it did tell me though was to expect an onslaught of raw-edged, punk infused, hard and heavy music that blended simple progressions and direct sonic salvos with technical guitar work, but to also expect the unexpected, the odd musical trick or trap to throw me off balance. And for all the strangeness of Stop Talking, it did its job perfectly as that is exactly what I got.
You have to love a song that sends you right back down the sonic rabbit hole, back into the body of that wide-eyed teenager that you used to be staring up at some long forgotten punk band in a now bulldozed venue in a town that you can’t remember going to. The first wave of any new genre is always the most exciting and subsequent musical devotees may capture the music, the style, the sound, the vibe but rarely do they capture the raw emotion that you felt when you first encountered the music that was going to change your life. A G E N T ’s Stop Talking, however, does exactly that.