The Agency… is a musical collective based in Newcastle upon Tyne held together by the staple players of Steve Beyer (lead guitar), Steven K Driver (guitar and vocals) and Andy Ludbrook (bass). Past contributors have included Fraser Smith (Little Man Tate/Shed Seven) and DJ/Producer Aaron McClelland (aka Fonzerelli). They released their first album For the Brave and Troubled in 2012, which is now critically regarded as an uncovered gem. The follow up Of Ghosts saw several tracks gaining airplay across the world, including the likes of ABC in Australia and the BBC in the UK. DJs recommending and playing the band have included Steve Lamacq, Paul Gough and Tom Robinson. The band also made a number of live, festival, radio and TV appearances with Of Ghosts and lead single She receiving critical acclaim and coverage across blogs, online magazines and paper presses.
It took a little longer, five years, to record the sprawling and ambitious new album In the Haunted Woods, which will be released on 23 October 2020 preceded by the single Defender (28 August 2020). In the Haunted Woods represents the Agency…’s best material to date. The dystopian electric soundscapes listeners are familiar with are painted even more vividly by the ensemble of players on this record. Now Ben Anderson has joined the band on guitar/percussion, while Scott Wall plays keys on his third “The Agency…” album. Cousin Dan and Carly McKeith add their voices throughout the record while Andy Turnbull (Monkey Junk Blues Club) weaves guitar across several tunes. After Garry Cosgrove left for Berlin, the Agency… have had more drummers play on this record than appear on a Spinal Tap long player. The result is a sonic kaleidoscope with instruments including Bouzouki, Mellotron and Sitar adding rich texture to tales of misanthropy and existential confusion.
Listeners describe the sound of the Agency… as rich and multi-layered with influences including Dylan, Pink Floyd, the Felice Brothers, Mark Lanegan, King Crimson, the National, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, William Shatner, the Velvet Underground and the Wizard of Oz. With literary and media influences as diverse as their electric soundscapes, there is a little bit of something for everyone that fortune sits at The Agency….’s table.
The band have put together a mosaic video for Border Song, a track from Of Ghosts during lockdown:
Of Ghosts’ is a genuine long-play record that sits alongside Leonard Cohen’s early work or mid-period Nick Cave, as an album to be taken seriously. Alan Harrison, Rocckingmagpie.wordpress.com
An English Velvet Underground for the 21 Century. Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 Music.
They have the kind of listen-to-me intensity that Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds manage to conjure up…and the instrumentation is exemplary throughout. Incredibly rich, and with plenty of sweet melodies to boot, this is like setting down with your favourite bar of quality dark chocolate. Diane Peterson, Crack Magazine
Shot through with contemplative Nick Cave-esque eerie soundscapes, tracks like Child So Careless show a studied mix of melody and sombreness akin to the National’s more recent material, while The Temple’s dark intensity is quietly powerful. Of Ghosts is a well-structured album that makes you hit repeat as soon as it’s over, continually surprising. Claire Dupree, NARC Magazine
An intricate collection of lyrically dense tales filled with hopeless nostalgia and dark romance. The instrumentation is rich with bass driven melodies and wandering piano parts that mix well with the low, muscular vocals and poetic lyrics. Karthick Murugesan, Echoesanddust.com
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