Album Reviews

Sleeper Agent – Celabrasion

on August 01, 2011, 7:58am
SleeperAgent_Celabrasion C+
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Sleeper Agent are young, both as a band and as individuals. After forming in 2010, the youngest member of the Bowling green, KY, sextet skipped out on her senior year of high school to go on tour. Their first album, Celabrasion, is the work of a band still finding their identity, but it offers a great first taste of a promising, young pop-rock group.

“Get It Daddy” is the album’s first single, an energetic piece of garage rock that sounds perhaps a little too glossy and overproduced. It’s an odd choice for the single, as there are many stronger tracks on the album, all with a sound that’s much rougher around the edges. It’s as if they were trying so hard to put out a glitzy, commercial single that they scrubbed away much of the charm that makes the other material here so engaging.

“Force a Smile” is an improvement, with the guitars and vocals each receiving a sweet candy coating of fuzzy crunch, like Pains of Being Pure at Heart but less dreamy. “Shuga Cane” takes that added edge even further until everything is distorted and noticeably looser. Singer Alex Kandel does her best Cherie Currie impression, snarling the song’s title to close each chorus.

“Proper Taste” features call-and-response vocals by Kandel and Tony Smith, who share lead duties across the album and have excellent chemistry. This splitting of the vocals between male and female singers is the band’s greatest coup. “That’s My Baby” displays these dual vocals at their best, a sweet, reverb-washed duet that shows that both singers can achieve some depth. This is Sleeper Agent’s secret weapon: If they can exploit the emotional range of each of these voices on future albums, great things will follow.

“Some White Monster” is Celabrasion‘s second big surprise. Far and away the hardest track on the album, Smith’s voice here is a ringer for Jack White’s, while Kandel is put through a vocal workout. The record’s best song manages to come out of nowhere and smack you right in the face.

At their best, Sleeper Agent sound like a bunch of eager, young kids having fun making music, and in the end, isn’t that what rock and roll should be? This first album isn’t perfect, but few are. In the meantime, there’s enough talent on display here to show that Sleeper Agent have the raw ingredients it takes to go places.

11 comments

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Kelli
January 24, 2014 at 1:35 am

Perhaps you’d be able to write a more accurate review had you been able to differentiate between “be my monster” and “some white blinds”

RockOnMN
March 26, 2012 at 12:12 am

I get to see these guys so? soon! 3/28 at the Fine Line in Minneapolis! After reading these comments, I’m even more stoked. Anyone else going to be there?!

d203music
December 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I also just picked up the new album off Amazon for 5$! It was worth every cent. http://amzn.to/v9s7KQ

Jennifer Esther Lee Tindal
December 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm

$5, guys. $5. You better get it! http://amzn.to/v9s7KQ

Nate Anderson
October 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

LOOOOVE their new album Celabrasion! Listening to it right now on Spotify!

open.spotify.com/artist/1f4it0Ej0T3TiSpYldK8qS

Cant wait to see them in SF tonight!

David Dawes
October 4, 2011 at 4:24 am

Album sounds excellent, I caught Sleeper Agent live at the Vera Project and they were great. Got some video on my blog: http://virtualsoundnw.blogspot.com/2011/10/sleeper-agent-and-us-on-roofs-at-vera.html

Kevin Corcoran Jr
August 8, 2011 at 6:02 am

i have only heard great things about this band! my friend went to one of their shows and they randomly gave him a free album download code because he bought some merch! It’s so great to hear about a genuine band that plays great music :) I actually heard about them because of their free song on itunes right now.. what a catchy piece of work that is!!

charlotte
August 3, 2011 at 10:33 am

great review. im definitely going to be playing this album for awhile. glad to see they finally released a video for Get It Daddy: http://www.spin.com/articles/exclusive-rowdy-first-clip-sleeper-agent

Adrian Garro
June 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Saw them open for Manchester Orchestra a few weeks back and was very impressed. Kandel has a great stage presence for someone so young…really looking forward to this album.

Kevin Corcoran Jr
August 8, 2011 at 6:03 am

i can’t wait to see them live!