Well I’ll be damned if I shouldn’t just up and move to Long Island tomorrow. If I wasn’t afraid of telling my parents that I dropped out of college to go live in one of the most exciting musical locales in America I just might do it.
Who are we kidding here, that’s a lie. I’d be afraid to tell my mother I skipped class, let alone dropped out to mosh. But if I just had to move anywhere, Long Island would be right up there, partially due to the music coming out of it, and Agent is no exception.
It would be easy to slam Agent on sounding a lot like their influences -- mainly Lifetime, Braid, and early Saves the Day -- if they didn’t wear them so proudly on their sleeves. Agent’s proper debut EP, I Wouldn’t Trade That for Anything is in all likelihood the best melodic hardcore album you’ll hear this year. Agent’s music sounds similar to their hometown friends Latterman, but vocally they come off sounding a lot more like the aforementioned influences creating an unexpectedly refreshing blend.
With only five songs clocking in at just over 13 minutes, I Wouldn’t Trade That for Anything seems to rush by all too quickly, unfortunately. “Anywhere Is Better Than Here” comes in tied with the EPs last song, “Too Close for Comfort,” as the album’s best tracks. Both songs share relentless energy and shout-along chorus opportunities. The second and third songs, “I’m Fucking Sick of People Leaving and Not Saying Goodbye” and “Trying My Best,” respectively, are good enough in their own right, but come off a little rushed, with the former being only a minute long. To the band’s credit, they’re heavier songs and work well enough within the time given, but Agent is clearly able to write songs over three minutes and still convey the same kind of urgency and energy.
Lyrically, I Wouldn’t Trade That for Anything focuses on being stuck either with yourself and your decisions you’ve made or the city you live in. However, optimism comes through towards the end when on “Too Close for Comfort,” vocalist Keith Pilson sings, “Ideas are being realized / We’re human beings, we can find something new to see, or say something not said / Tomorrow is a brand new day, and I’m through with sleeping where I lay.” Plus, any band that has lyrics about the virtues of bike rides automatically get a big thumbs up from me, but Agent doesn’t even need that kind of crutch to win in my books.
I Wouldn’t Trade That for Anything is a stunning debut that deserves to be in your collection.