The Agency is set to release their upcoming album titled ‘In the Haunted Woods’ on October 23rd. More surreal than the last album, ‘Of Ghosts’, ‘In the Haunted Woods’ is part showcase of the varied and textured guitar work and part a profound exhibition in songwriting. Almost to the point of becoming a varied concept album.
And that is a good thing because, while the songs flow into each other, they each retain their own unique personalities. Add to that a mild genre shift in each song and you have an album you can play and just leave on and get something different from each track.
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‘In the Haunted Woods’, the Agency…’s follow up to their critically acclaimed album ‘Of Ghosts’, will be released on all streaming platforms and CD on 23rd October 2020. It is the enigmatic collectives best long player to date, seeped in the dystopian storytelling and rich musical textures that listeners have come to love.
As always, they are accompanied by guests galore as they weave a rich instrumental tapestry including guitars, mellotron, piano, and cajón on a record that strives for a more organic and less synthetic sound.
The opening track Numb offers the first taste of the album’s diversity. It tells the tale of a banker on the run, veering between Nick Cave-esque balladic intensity through, post-rock refrains and more traditional choral hooks.
Numb is a six-minute journey that sets the tone for the surprising twists and turns that follow. A musical kaleidoscope of artistry that binds styles and sounds together so that it may be savored as a distinct whole.
Numb is followed by the pulsing Indie Rock of first single Defender (28 August 2020), which has already been described as a “buzz-saw blitz of coolness” (Backseatmafia.com) and been subject to international airplay.
Featuring a range of instruments including mellotron it stands alongside other rockers such as The Last Time, marrying its lilting vocal swing to an intense choral backlash, and Poor Robin, a cautionary tale of political corruption.
Gentler moments include future single Abigail, where the saccharin sweet melody masks a darker meditation on life in the rat race. To Fumble is Divine is a beautifully rendered and fragile song about following a spirit of nature, while album closer Two Strangers offers the kind of gothic storytelling that fans have come to expect from the Agency… complete with charming vocal harmonies.
The album also includes moments of absurdity and surrealism; tracks like Diplomacy firmly keep their tongue in their cheek whilst Affluent comes from the perspective of the kind of self-indulgent personality we might all like to avoid.
Summer Town includes bouzouki and sitar on a track, which much like the others hits the listener in waves of intensity. What begins as a tribute to a fallen landscape becomes a siren for hope assisted by the wonderful backing vocals of Carly McKeith.
In the Haunted Woods takes the listener on a musical and lyrical journey, at times familiar, at times astounding. There is no doubt that after listening to the album you will feel we have been through ‘something’ with the band.
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