This is my first encounter with Sleeper Agent and I like what I’m hearing so far (and what I’m seeing as well). I’ve spun “About Last Night” (MP3s of course) three or four times past my withering ears and I’m starting to get into it, although I wasn’t getting it at first. I was wondering what the reasons for that initial lukewarm reaction were, and the best I could come up with is my age, coming mainly from the Era we know now as Classic Rock (although we called it FM Underground back in the day).
Well, that’s a weak, limp excuse, so I’m glad to say I’m coming around (I See the Light!- The Five Americans); still searching for the Southern element, however, since SA fares from Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Not cooking up a deep-fried storm too much in that regard (such as Elvis or Memphis or Colonel Sanders tasty, finger lickin’, pressure cooker fried chicken); take the 5th track for instance, Lorena, you get more of a guitar jangler with a catchy pop melody (Alex Kandel gives a great performance here).
Almost ready for AM radio airplay; on the chorus, I imagined it was Blondie and Alex was Debra Harry belting out the words. A lot of these could become radio hits, no problem. Anyway, I’m getting off point, these young musicians sound more like an Eighties British Pop Band, than a Southern outfit, born in the 21st century! Profound observation, huh?
I think the record is pretty heavily produced, and has a very full sound; in this case, I believe it’s a good thing, since this is a pop record, a dream-come-true for radio airplay (personally, not always my cup of tea – I’m more of a Captain Beefheart kind of Dude, sometimes), with terrific melodies and with the vocals mixed way up front, which is perfect for what they’re going after.
I can make out some of the lyrics, but not all; they weren’t provided with my promo copy, nor were the recording credits given. Well, I managed to find the credits on Sleeper Agent’s official web page; not the actual studios’ names, but it looks like Jay Joyce was their producer in Nashville and Eric Bass produced some tracks in Charleston, S.C. (had a great visit there last June!).
Didn’t see the breakdown for these tracks, but I will say, they both did good jobs at getting a very full, polished, clear pop band sound; I’ve been thinking Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” all the way! I haven’t heard all of “Celabrasion” yet, but I have viewed the two hit videos, “Get Burned” and “Get It Daddy;” this earlier stuff rocks quite a bit harder, which tends to reinforce my theory that Sleeper Agent was going after more of a pop sound this go around, which might sell a few more records.
They, perchance, just have pulled it off; we’ll have to see what their upcoming tour does for the bottom line, which starts in a few days. Although, it’s good to know they can rock the house when they want to! Need to keep the flying hair routine in place, when crunching those axes (as seen on “Get It Daddy”). If maturity kills this histrionic hook in their act, it could be the Kiss of Death for SA – just saying…
Alright, so what’s my favorite tune on “About Last Night?” Just as I type, I can’t get Lorena off my mind; keep comparing it to Heart of Glass, for some ineffable reason. Alex Kandel’s vocals are out of this world! Again, Debra comes to mind, but then suddenly I remember Edie Brickell also. Lots of similarities! And when she’s in a full swing rockin’ mode, Siouxsie and The Banshees come to mind.
Sleeper Agent recalls that whole New Wave British Pop Band surge for me, more so than Grunge ala Nirvana. This may say more about who I am, or more particularly how old I am, yet, I’ll interject, those were good times, so it doesn’t do SA any harm to get these laudatory nostalgic pipings from the (nearly silent) Has-Been-World-of-Rock-Critics, whose bronze baby trophy sneakers (a metaphor for writings) are but a pusillanimous footnote to the (Secret) History of Rock ‘N’ Roll! P.S. Be Brave and Waves are runners-up for Numero Uno. Get it while you can!