Sleeper Agent - Celebrasion (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sleeper Agent

Celebrasion (2011)

Mom + Pop

Celebrasion offers just the right amount of sugar pop and fuzz rock from Sleeper Agent. It almost seems calculated to rock. 35 minutes of music. 12 tracks. The longest song is three-and-a-half minutes. The whole thing plays off like a super catchy, South rock version of Los Campesinos! and Pixies. In their quieter moments, the band even approaches Cat Power's quiet beauty via Alex Kandel's smoky voice. Overall, though, this thing is just stuffed with rockers, and that's alright with me. Also, the band's name is apparently a Battlestar Galactica reference which, heck yeah Battlestar Galactica.

Sleeper Agent seems bent on packing in the rock ‘n' roll fun, and Celebrasion is appropriately fat free. Granted, the songs pretty much all have the same vibe, minus the atmospheric almost-closer "All Wave and No Goodbye," and could just about be played in any order. But there's something to be said for hearing 35 minutes of tuneage that make for a stellar live set. The guy/gal vocals play off each other well. The band stuffs each song with guitars/bass/drums/synth/bells/dual vox and somehow never come off as masturbatory.

I'll be honest; the record's back half does kind of blur together after I hit the album's best song, "Get Burned," after which I rewind the song because like I just told you it was the best song. You really need to pay more attention. This song distills what's best about the group's competing, soaring vocal lines. But there are no duds here, just good songs and great songs. Still, there is nothing quite like jumping from the relatively mellow vibe of "That's My Baby" into the perfect, fun, get-up-and-go guitar intro of "Get Burned."

Celebrasion is simply a fun record, one that captures Sleeper Agent's dynamite live set. It's got plenty of spirit and cuts down on the excess. While the band doesn't exactly reinvent the genre, Sleeper Agent cuts rock down to its barest, catchiest essentials.