Monday, September 6, 2010

CD Review: Agent Sparks - Red Rover

I first encountered Agent Sparks when they opened for The Bangles at The House Of Blues in Chicago a few years back. Some of The Bangles’ less hip fans (the ones who came primarily to hear “Eternal Flame”) were put off, but for those of us familiar with the more hard-edged side of Susanna, Vicki, and Debbie, the wildly energetic Agent Sparks were well-suited to the task. Plus, they were a lot of fun. Here’s a review I wrote of the Agent Sparks CD, Red Rover, which originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer. It looks like there are some new songs available on the band’s MySpace page.

Agent Sparks singers Benjamin Einziger and Stephanie Eitel bring to mind vintage new wave with their animated duets throughout much of their debut CD, Red Rover. Together with bassist Paul Fried and drummer George Purviance, they employ other modern rock styles in their depictions of oddball characters. An offbeat sense of humor is at work here, like when Einziger sings, “I like being a socialized animal/How about you?” on “Face The Day.”

Eitel’s keyboards playing adds to the fun of “Polly Anne,” an energetic tune about a girl who never fits in, as well as the clever and catchy “Made Up Friend.” Einziger’s frenetic riffs compete with Purviance’s tribal drumming during the religious/political satire “Razorhand,” and the band brews up a tropical storm for “Camouflage.” Red Rover even serves up a lighter, touching love song with “Funny Foolish.”

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