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Album Review

Agent Fresco – Destrier

Agent Fresco – Destrier

It’s only fair to congratulate a band who aren’t afraid to step away from their comfort zone.

Label: Record Records
Released: 7th August 2015

Rating: ★★★

Whether it’s avant-garde synths slotted between prog rock riffs or metal snares given a jazz-meets-alt backbone, Icelandic quartet Agent Fresco have never been about fitting in. Known for dabbling with different genres to create what they like to refer to as Art Rock, the four-piece’s second LP, ‘Destrier’, is a hefty mix of experimentation that explores vast influences and creative freedom.

Much like the band’s first album, ‘A Long Time Listening’, which centred on the passing of frontman Arnór Dan Arnarson’s father, this time around the singer used another demon to convey a catalyst of emotions. In fuming second single ‘See Hell’ and ‘The Autumn Red’, Arnarson channels the anger he felt after two men jumped on him, breaking his eye socket and leaving him with a concussion.

From tongue-in-cheek verses that depict the brutal attack, to storming chorus, which only add to the rage, the songs are a medley of frustration that will leave you wanting to smash your way around a circle pit. Middle fingers up, please.

But it’s not just the aggression of the incident that the vocalist is focusing on, here. Appropriately titled ‘Angst’ explores the anxiety he suffered post-injuries, whereas piano ballad ‘Death Rattle’ is a more sombre take on the upheaval of sadness and fear.

Admittedly the record won’t appeal to everyone. At times, the ambitious mix of genres does make the release seem a little cramped – particularly in songs like ‘Wait For Me’ and ‘Dark Water’, which go from one extreme to the other. That said, whether you love it or hate it, it’s only fair to congratulate a band who aren’t afraid to step away from their comfort zone and delve into both the past and present, as well as the future. Emma Matthews