Some of the most exciting recent names in pop music – ie. Frank Ocean – has made their names by crafting modern soul music that combines classic R&B, hip hop beats, and alternative sensibilities. Anticodon Records duo Agency seems to have this formula down to a science, experimenting with a variety of influences and styles while remaining squarely in the alternative soul realm. Comprised of A on drums, Z on vocals, and both sharing duties on the keys and production, Agency is has an artistic vision that no one can even begin to deny.
Their latest, the 5 song EP entitled Exponents, is a seamlessly blended journey of 5 beautiful and smooth R&B tracks that draw comparisons to James Blake, The Weeknd, and even Prince. With the type of alternative swagger that set icons like David Bowie apart from the masses, Agency refuses to just be another generic act on your local urban radio station that comes and goes. Instead, Exponents presents you a solid EP that will stand the test of time as you come back to it day after day after year after year.
The first two tracks on the EP – “Darkness” and “Moonlight” – are accompanied by stellar music videos. The “Darkness” video is a fantastic short film from filmmakers Tamas Ladi and Zoltan Vinay. The two shared screenwriting duties, with Ladi as the director and Vinay as the film’s primary actor. The video notes that it is a “project exploring isolation and loneliness in the wake of a lost relationship.” The film and song explore this territory together, with a decidedly off-kilter look and feel. The result is artistic and deep, with a interesting bit of levity that brings it all together and allows it not to get too heavy.
The video for “Moonlight” is a lyric video, something that many artists release from time to time allowing for the showcase of their words and the music together. Rather than a blank screen with nothing more than words, the artistic duo follows their ethos of being unique by accompanying the words with a beautiful interpretative dance, interestingly cut to the music. Leave it to Agency to refuse to allow even a lyric video to be accused of being generic.
After these two strong tracks, the EP follows suit with three more solid songs that blend electronic music, soul, pop, and the rest of their lengthy list of influences and styles. With even occasional jazz and straight up blues seeping into the mix, to attempt to pigeonhole their sound would be a foolish endeavor at best.
The EP released in May and can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon. The album can be streamed at Spotify. Check it out for yourself… results may vary, but you won’t be able to deny that Agency is establishing themselves as a truly unique voice in today’s musical.