And now for something totally different. Here’s a throwback review in honor of Throwback Thursday.
Agent Fresco is an upcoming Progressive Rock band from Iceland with some jazzy, alternative, heavy, and experimental tendencies. This musical unit is rock solid with every member making a unique, stand out contribution to the sound. The band has some shades of Mute Math, Tool, and Deftones but never sound too much alike, keeping up a very fresh appeal of their own. Agent Fresco brings off-time goodness, incredible originality, next level musicianship, and foreward thinking to the mix, making this band a must listen for prog heads and those in search of something totally new.
They’ve been hard at work since 2008 creating a eclectic mix of catchy, intelligent tunes. The first product of these efforts was 2011’s mind melting “A Long Time Listening”, the subject of this review. The album’s title is appropriate because you might get hooked for a long time. There’s an abundance of phenomenal content on this album through it’s 17 tracks. You read right. 17 whole tracks line the secrets waiting for your ears on this record. Sometimes this album strikes me more as a work of art in itself with its various twists and turns and utter creativity.
It opens with rolling waves of piano held by fascinating drum grooves in the opener “Anemoi”. The singer then pitches his voice over the music. He has an incredibly unique approach to singing which covers a variety of styles and tones throughout the album. He likely won’t appeal to everyone right away, but his out of the box approach may end up growing on you. His variety is evinced right at the very beginning of “He Is Listening” when a hardcore scream is followed with an off-kiltered, hard hitting polyrhythm which sounds like the beginning of strange journey before it throws you into the melodic genius of fan favorite “Eyes Of A Cloud Catcher”. You learn very quickly that this album is full of taste and quality, a trend that surprisingly endures for the length of the album. Other stand out tracks include “Of Keen Gaze”, “Yellow Nights”, “Silhouette Palette”, “Above These City Lights”, and the phenomenal closer “Tempo”, but they’re all worth a good couple listens.
Objectively, this album isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, regardless of it’s variety and riches. Originality isn’t always appreciated. But personally I don’t have any serious criticisms here. It has minor flaws, but Agent Fresco did a superb job creating their debut.
If you honestly haven’t gathered by now, “A Long Time Listening” is worth a long time listening. It’s one of those albums that gains more and more depth the more you listen to it. A highly recommended musical experience, especially for the prog heads out there. Give a couple tracks a listen above. And if you enjoy what you’re hearing, support these musicians! Also, rumor has it Agent Fresco has some more music on the way. Keep your eyes and ears open for that.