...there’s always a feeling of angst with this LP, it’s NOT a happy record overall, despite the hints at a hedonistic sound.
Yes, we review yet more gloopy electronica, this time from Denmark’s Narkohund. This is a set that – when we first heard it, instantly struck us as very carefully pieced together to the point of sounding ersatz, and what do you know we were completely wrong, as Love Agency is packed full with a whole host of home-made sounds and effects that is anything but manufactured. Still, this homemade element sets the mix of break-beat and trance rhythms off very nicely indeed. It’s an enjoyably compact release if one that’s not really doing anything that will surprise you in terms of song-writing or style: very much nodding to that precision sound du jour, with acts like Toulouse Low Trax springing to mind. Sometimes the techno / trance beats on tracks like Agency Not For Me make the whole thing sound like those fabulous but patchy Trans Europe / Trans America Express LPs from 1992 or thereabouts, the stuff that the likes of Spacelab or Coldcut would release. But I’ll stop there as this review isn’t going to degenerate into a list of dance records from 1990-92...
If you give this a listen, you will also note that Love Agency has an inherently introspective feel to from first to last: the quiet vibe finding best release through a sort of underpowered keyboard rave that is intent on keeping on the right side of the tracks. Tracks like Howl and Black Book tick along nicely revealing a flash of melody now and again though there’s always a feeling of angst with this LP, it’s NOT a happy record overall, despite the hints at a hedonistic sound. As well as the proto spy thriller that Agency Not For Me threatens to become, The Fall is a brooding and surly piece of music, with a muted (and very unemotional) female vocal set against a mix of widescreen trance beats with the odd hint of break beat now and again. Love Agency is equally sinister despite its quiet and measured vibe: (the mood’s more to do with the sampled voices – one of which is a very uncomfortable sounding Andy Warhol). Elsewhere, despite the trippy Gong-like synths that enliven Prelude, the track also mutates into a very sinister and uncomfortable plod by the end. Outro brings a whole new element to the table with its atmospheric and fairly harmless late 90’s cinescape.
An enjoyable but slightly moody LP overall.