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Agency – Resist – Album Review

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Overtly political and frantic in its composition, the latest release from Agency is a soaring R&B album for the ages. Cutting through our current state of affairs while keeping their music consistently fresh, the record is a constantly surprising groove of energy.

Opening their album on a moody rendition of MLK’s mountaintop speech, the hopefulness in the speech is powerfully contrast with the modern sense of dread in “What’s Going On (Right Now)?.” While they really ramp up the dark feelings on “Till & Marrow” as well, they start to spin this into some bright and bouncy pop on “Rumours” while still singing about how far systematic evil has put our society back. There’s an exciting sense of rebellion on the dance piano and vocals of “Backwards” where Agency professes fighting on even when everything is going against you.

“Desire” however totally ups the ante instrumentally as deep guitar and synth hooks spiral around in an electronic mesh. The track’s lyrical content critiques the do-good people who hurt those around them while looking out for themselves, tackling a topic sharply that is usually so hard to articulate. Lyrically beautiful in its visual dissection of modern America, “Black Boys On Mopeds” shines as the acoustic moment of the record, stripped down but solid enough to support the rest of the track.

The bottom half of the record is the most sonically interesting as they gain neon ambiance on “Machine Gun” and even a weird sense of hip hop jazz on “March On Babylon” with just the right pinch of early 2000s pop. While there’s a lot of burning emotional slow-burns on “Red To The Moon” and “Senses of Insecurity,” the amount of fresh hooks Agency drops within the fascinating walls of “Ice Cold,” really close out the album strong.

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