Agent Side Grinder are back with the new album ‘A/X’.
Following on from their eponymous 2008 debut and through to the much more synth based ‘Alkimia’ in 2015, Agent Side Grinder have shown a constant evolution in their sound in their 11 year career and gaining a reputation as being a powerful live band.
‘A/X’ is a very synthy album. ‘Synth wave’ if you’re trying to be cool. And it uses it’s electronic footing to great effect with a variety of layers and textures running constantly, showcased perfectly on ‘Decompression’. An ominous and quite creepy industrial number harking back to the early days of Skinny Puppy.
‘Stripdown’ meanwhile skips straight into pop territory with a well constructed new romantic vibe all based around a solid chorus that warrants repeated listens. And then out of the blue an epic 80’s sax solo that Tim Capello would be proud of blows away all preconceptions.
There is some great variety on this album, which sadly is it’s main flaw, as the songs lack cohesion and flow. There’s a lot of jumping around from song to song for the listener, and it could have done with a little more polishing on that front. At many times it even sounds like a different vocalist. It feels like two EPs that were pushed together. Even the production quality varies.
‘MM/CM’ and ‘The Great Collapse’ definitely belong together, along with album highlight ‘Inner Noises’. This is superb song writing and ticks all the boxes. I’d revisit the band on the strength of this track alone.
All in all, it’s a cluster of great songs, that don’t belong together. But they are still great.