FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES
- The Double Agents (Spooky)
Melbourne five piece The Double Agents have picked up from where they left off on their debut EP and seem determined to make diversity a virtue with the 11 tracks here on "Friends in Low Places".
"Bottom Line" is an energetic, short and sharp rocker that opens the album, and is followed by "Hole in My Heart". Where "Bottom Line" rocks and gets you shaking, "Hole in My Heart" keeps things moving in a Stonesy-MC5 (circa "Sister Anne") vein, and features the kind of slide guitar playing to make Peter Wells take notice. Next are the swampy/jungle/garage sounds of the title track with Kim "Miss Kimmy" Walvisch on lead vocals. This is a blend of sounds and vocals which is incredibly unique - imagine Deborah Harry were to get down and dirty fronting The Cramps at their swampy and sleazy best.
"ÔWalk Away" takes listeners into a sombre, introspective Neil Young-influenced mood, where vocalis-guitarist "Diamond" Dave Butterworth seems to ponder what has just been with a previous partner...
"The Bliss" lifts the tempo (and volume) as "Miss Kimmy" takes back lead vocal duties. It's an inspired decision as her delivery works incredibly well as the song continuously builds. "Baby DonÕt Cry" seems like a radical departure with its short and sharp blues-funk style. "Friend like You" returns the band to its Neil Young/Stonesy roots with the rhythm section solid and flexible and guitarist Ryan Tandy delivering some impressive lead guitar work. "What You Need" is sombre country rock with great vocals from "Diamond" Dave and Joel Silbersher. The closer, "Thrill Has Gone" is a malevolent scorcher, in a similar vein to the New Christs' "Bed of Nails".
The Double Agents' "Friends in Low Places" is the remarkable and impressive debut LP and proves that Melbourne rock does not just rock and can roll. - Simon Li
DOUBLE AGENTS- The Double Agents (Humber)
Following the end of Melbournes, The Zeal; guitarist Dave Butterworth and drummer Myles Gallagher, would soon form a group top reflect their range of influences, outside of the MC5, Celibate Rifles, Radio Birdman, high energy, guitar rock that was so influential on The Zeal.
What has resulted in their search for a band blending garage/soul/60s country rock are The Double Agents. They include Dave Butterworth (vocals/guitar/piano) and Myles Gallagher (drums), alongside Ryan Tandy [ex-Flychamers] (guitar/slide guitar/mandolin), Sharon McClean (bass) and Kim Walvisch (piano/vocals).
After having been gigging around Melbourne for a year and a half, the group has released its debut five track CDEP.
The CD opens with "Cant have none", a mid-tempo country-flavoured rocker with big dashes of slide guitar from Ryan Tandy and the distinctive vocals of Dave Butterworth and harmonies from Kim Walvisch.
This is followed by "Action Swing", a track which brings to mind a blend of swinging, swampy '60s garage flavored sounds with some interesting hooks.
The next track, a cover of the Earl Randle and James Shaw composition "I didnt take your man (you gave him to me)" is a real surprise packet. It features Dave Butterworth tinkling the ivories, allowing Kim Walvisch to grab the mic. The song builds, so as to allow Kim to discuss how "Mary" lost his man to another and was lost from Mary and whom lost him by her mistakes. This track probably provides the highlight of this CDEP.
One could even suggest or be mistaken for thinking that this was sadly missed from the soundtrack to the motion picture "Shaft".
The CD is rounded off with "Target", with Dave Butterworth, back to vocal duties, as he discusses who might bring him displeasure, to the point where they might be sought out and sorted out.
A fine debut from this Melbourne five-piece, creating sounds a highly select few have attempted anywhere else. - Simon Li
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