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Agency didn’t necessarily want to record a political album, but found that events in the U.S. over the last year made politics impossible to ignore.

I’m inclined to call Agency’s new album soothing, but maybe that’s not the right word. There’s too much restlessness in Identity to call it a soothing album. But musically speaking, the vibes are chill. Maybe you could think of Identity like a calm reflection after a fight. It’s sober, but with tension resting just under the surface.

Agency gained some recognition recently for winning a cover song contest for their version of The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand, which you can listen to on YouTube. The band is a pretty prolific creator of music videos, actually, and if you’re the type who likes your auditory media hooking up with your visual media, then you’ll want to check out Agency’s channel.

Agency doesn’t like labels when it comes to picking genres, but to give a general idea of what they like to do musically, R&B would be a good place to start, with lead vocals that can sound Sam Smith-esque. But you didn’t hear that from me. I have given no hints. Not one. (Hint, hint.)

The album begins with a song called “Dirty,” and a recording of cracks and pops, like you’d find on some dusty old vinyl. Then you move into slow piano chording and the harmony style you’ll come to know very intimately when you finish the album. It’s a short song that moves immediately into the next track, “Join In,” which starts with a clip from a Malcolm X speech. That short clip creates the soundscape for this cut and the rest of the album in general. According to the band’s social media, Agency didn’t necessarily want to record a political album, but found that events in the U.S. over the last year made politics impossible to ignore—a sentiment a lot of us can probably agree on, whatever our political stripe. The highlight of the album, by far, is the third song, “Experiment.” The drums are kicking; there’s a more minimalist, scaled-back feeling. The attitude of “Experiment” is a more concentrated dose of what the whole album is aiming for.

The initial power of the beginning tracks, however, does wind down a bit towards the album’s end. Though if you’re a fan of this genre (shhh), you will want to drink down this album in full. If you also inhabit a particular zone of political engagement (or outrage) but still don’t want to burst a vein in your forehead, you will find chillness, relaxation, and good vibes abounding in Identity with still enough fire to keep those rebel flames lit.

Identity was released on February 24, and you can stream the entire album right here. Check it out:

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