The first time that we heard anything from Baltimore musical conglomeration The Agrarians we were none to sure what to make of it. However, Bluesbunny reckons that we have attuned our ears now so we had a go at another of their releases "The Infidelity Narratives". Delivered to us on a green CDR with the title written in pen, it had home made stamped all over it.
Well, how does this anti corporate release shape up? Pretty damn well actually! If you are wanting songs about fluffy rabbits and living happily ever after then it won't be for you. The title track "The Infidelity Narratives" is a rather deranged piece of poetry that manages to make sense and no sense at the same time. "Loving the Loving" felt like some medieval folk song with an unusual lyrical style that no one writes in anymore but it just sticks with you. Like an ultra low budget Tom Waits, the Agrarians deliver another piece of inspired weirdness in "Aromatic Rose Blest". I would like to tell you what it is about but somehow I doubt that I actually know. However, I am in awe of anyone who writes lyrics like "A manmade machine that turns shit to gold" (from "Of Sweet Narrative Lost"). There seemed to be a natural break here (we needed another beer) before the relatively conventional and yet so very effective "When You Sing My Simple Song". There is the suspicion of excessive drug use that pervades the album only the lyrics are way too precise even if they do make your head spin. Rounding things off is the acerbic "Kept Man". Now this would be an excellent addition to the soundtrack of the remake of "American Gigolo" - don't laugh, it will happen! - as it ends the album on "… the only strength you have is your cock"
Incidentally, Bluesbunny managed somehow to play this album with a second copy (we were playing with one of those media center type computers at the time…) one track out of sync. A truly psychedelic experience.
Just because you don't understand something won't make it bad. This album required a bit of adjustment to our usual reviewing approach. There is a common theme but it is presented obliquely much as your more esoteric poet might do. So if you have devoted your life to finding the lost Tiny Tim album then these songs will no doubt appeal to you. There is also a sense of wonder to it that is hard to put into words - and it is undoubtedly incompatible with pickup trucks and hunting rifles - but you keep coming back to it. You won't know why but it is a kind of sonic addiction. Not sure where you can even get a copy but try The Agrarian's MySpace page first.