Agent Sparks – Not So Merry (CD)

Wow, Agent Sparks really wants individuals to focus on them instead of their previous act. This honest demeanor really means a lot, considering one could easily float on the success of an act like Audiovent, or even somewhat on the fact that the act has siblings of members from Incubus. However, “It’s Not My Time” succeeds even though Agent Sparks has all these outs to become lazy. The style is hard to categorize for Agent Sparks; what may just work is a catch-all of “rock”, as there are audible punk, indie, rock and metal influences spread throughout the track.

Using more than one vocalist throughout most of this EP, a track like “Mr. Insecurity” really gives the track an industrial, Lolita Storm-like feel. IT may just be the fact that the presence of more than one lead singer forces each of the vocalists to try even harder to get their own message out. “Mr. Insecurity” really does not have a sound that would indicate that the band wishes to simply ride on the styles of music that are currently popular. In fact, the band seems to pull out a sound from acts that are not really appreciated now, acts like Veruca Salt and Filter, that really coalesce with a host of different influences for the impressive “Camouflage”. “Camouflage” may at first seem like a fairly straight-forward work track, but as the track catches on and gradually gains momentum, chances are that listeners will begin to tap their feet and admire the funky dynamic that marks the second half of the disc. For some reason, the band’s crowning achievement is stuck well after the beginning of “Not So Merry”. This track, “Choke” is another one of those patchwork tracks, but contains even more harmony than any of the tracks that precede. In this track, the multiple vocals tend to work together instead of against each other; the chorus is one that will keep individuals humming for a period well after the end of this EP.

By the time that “So Long, Darlings” ends, one feels a connection to Agent Sparks that will no doubtedly continue after the band cuts their full-length album. Where the decision to put “Choke” so late was not really understood, having “So Long Darlings” is a move of organizational brilliance. Even exempting the fact that the track says goodbye a number of time, the overall instrumentation of the disc really has a current of longing running through it, even if the rough exterior of the track would block out any emotional vulnerability.

Top Track: Choke

Rating: 5.8/10

Agent Sparks – Not So Merry / 2005 Immortal / 5 Tracks / http://www.agentsparks.com / http://www.immortalrecords.com /

[JMcQ]

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