Going away for “a bit” is one thing but being out of the music scene for nigh on seven years is something of a dangerous game to play: for many, it could be career suicide. It’s a nice warm welcome back then to modern progressives, Agent Cooper, and their blend of modern, clean-cut, musical overtures.
Agent Cooper play a charming blend of mainstream prog infused melodious rock that is both perky and sparky. I wouldn’t say that the band wear their influences on their sleeves; more, they are tattooed there with pride. The “From the Ashes” EP is nothing less than a twenty minute romp from the Atlanta based outfit that says “Hello! Remember us?” really loudly and, fair play to them, they’ve delivered a little understated gem that leaves you feeling happy that they are back again. As an appetizer to a presumably forthcoming new album, it sets you up very well indeed, thank you.
Opening track ‘Power’ had me reaching for my Queen b-sides just to check there wasn’t a complete and utter rip off- rest easy, there isn’t, but you can feel the love for Mercury and Co running through this and the rest of the EP; it’s all bold bombast, fabulously produced, modern and yet somehow retro in its delivery and outlook. ‘Tornado Dreams‘ is more of the same, packing in loads of prog flourishes, time changes and musical dexterity. ‘Mother’ and ‘I Can’ are more straightforward rock tracks with some nice energised, proggy keyboards and some exemplary bass from band architect Sean Delson. ‘Misunderstood‘ closes proceedings, its complexity appearing effortless and charm filled.
“From the Ashes” is an effective EP- as a statement of intent, it works; you are left wanting more and, as it’s not there, you invariably go back to putting this six track through its paces again. If you’re a fan of Dream Theater, Kansas or mid period Rush there is much that is likely to appeal. Agent Cooper are never going to set my particular part of the universe on fire but “From the Ashes” has an effortless charm and an endearing nature that will, as likely, garner them a lot of fans on their forthcoming Tony MacAlpine tour. This is a nice record, and, for once, I’m not using “nice” in the pejorative sense. Worth checking out, if you like that sort of thing. Which you do.