Agent - Awake in Their World [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Awake in Their World [7 inch] (2009)

Run for Cover

During the Agent's headlining set at their recent sold-out record release show for Awake in Their World, the singer of local Moss Icon-worshippers Everything Sucks playfully shouted out, "Play the one about being a kid on Long Island!" The remark was funny because it basically summed up the theme of every one of the Agent's 13 songs they've recorded to date, but it also overshadows the fact that, better than any band, the Agent best capture the panic and hostility every youth exhibits when the transition to adulthood looms directly ahead.

The band's been through two lineup changes and one re-recording since their last release, 2006's I Wouldn't Trade That for Anything, and consequently, there are some vocal and musical tweaks on Awake in Their World. Another all-too-short collection of scrappy, poppy melodic hardcore songs, Awake is a little more liberal in exposing the band's mid-`90s emo influences, painting their desperate manifestations with greater shades of the Promise Ring (the bridge on "I Am No One") and Texas Is the Reason (intro to "Current," outro to "Tough Lake, Mr. Muenster") than before. Additionally, vocalist Keith Pilson sounds a little different in his delivery, particularly in his upper range. It's hard to characterize just how, but it's definitely there. Granted, some change is to be expected; it's been two and a half years, and they definitely seem to be escaping the "Saves the Day covering a Braid record" pigeonholing.

In any event, this material is just about as thoughtful and enjoyable as the band's previous stuff. Tinges of another major influence, Crime in Stereo, peak through on "Processes Incur Subconscious," which hints at the emotional pain CIS occasionally exhibited on Explosives and the Will to Use Them or The Troubled Stateside. There's a serious melancholic flair on this track, but the phrase "hurts so good" comes to mind. Pounding dynamics punctuate the equally excellent "I Am No One," where the throttling stop-start towards the end is just superb. Finally, there's some more complex structuring on closer "Tough Lake, Mr. Muenster," further proving the Agent haven't lost their touch at gifted songcraft.

Though I slightly prefer the band's first official recording session (which yielded both their first official demo and EP), this is their first release where pretty much every song rules equally. If the Agent ever puts out a full-length, hopefully they manage to maintain such egalitarianism while perpetuating Peter Pan-isms in the literate and paradoxically mature ways they've continued to make their mark for.

Awake in Their World at their profile page