AGNES STRANGE – Strange Flavour

This hard-rocking three piece from Southampton released their sole album in 1975. Consisting of bluesy boogie, it sounds somewhat dated in this day and age, although there are a couple of tracks that do stand out. Both sides of their single ‘Clever Fool’/’Give Yourself A Chance’ are included on the album, and are a couple of the better tracks, where the band deliver a more straight-forward hard rock sound without the boogie backing. ‘Motorway Rebel’ has some nifty guitar-work, but is otherwise fairly plodding pub rock, while ‘Travelling’ improves by being tackled in a more restrained manner, even if it does end up leaving little impression when it is over. The title track is a nice little instrumental, which does actually benefit from the lack of vocals, as the band have to keep it interesting by delivering some good soloing. ‘Alberta’ starts out as an acoustic blues before the band come in to give it some muscle, and with its tasteful guitar fills and good slide guitar-work it turns out to be one of the best tracks on here. ‘Loved One’ is another song that starts off as a guitar/vocal piece before the band appear to finish it off with some good hard rocking. ‘Failure’ lives up to its name, with little of the style of the preceding few tracks, but from the opening guitar effects and atmospheric backing the mood changes completely for ‘Children Of The Absurd’. At over seven minutes this is the longest track on the album, and they could have cut a minute or so from the rambling mid-section, but the rest of the song is excellent, with the best vocal of the album and some nice echo-laden guitar-work. If the whole album had been like this then that would have been more like it, but unfortunately it is too late to save an otherwise fairly mediocre record. The CD re-issue has some bonus material tacked on, with ‘Highway Blues’ being a faithful electric blues, and the unpromisingly titled ‘Granny Don’t Like Rock ‘n’ Roll’ turns out to be a rather good guitar-driven rock song. On the whole it would hard to whole-heartedly recommend this album, as it has dated rather badly, but if you are into hard rock and boogie then you could do worse than give it a listen.