Ian Lowery - Agent Orange '92 + Drug Of Choice Sessions

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2017-10-06
Ian Lowery - Agent Orange '92 + Drug Of Choice Sessions
Ian Lowery - Agent Orange '92 + Drug Of Choice Sessions

“Agent orange, I’m on fire,” the late, great Ian Lowery bellows on the rousing opening track of this collection of unreleased recordings. And from the conviction in his voice, he is indeed on fire. Agent Orange ’92 + Drug of Choice Sessions is an incendiary stuff. As edgy and inspired as his former band, Folk Devils. As ornery and brilliant as his, 1989 album, King Blank To.

These recordings are tough and uncompromising. Yet, extremely focused. While not quite as deranged as Folk Devils, Lowery was clearly out to ruffle a few feathers. Sentiments like, “Such tragic waste of Jesus wept” and “disinfect and pass it on” hit home on, ‘Bad Feels Good’. On ‘Ink Ray’, Lowery’s rage is barely contained. ‘Love To Come’ may be full of ominous portent but it’s got a great beat and the kids can dance to it. ‘Ungodly’, is just that. ‘Somewhere To Crash’ sounds more like a threat than a request. Cuts like, ‘Just Bored’ have all the intensity of The Birthday Party.

Amidst the ire and brimstone, things don’t let up until, ‘Fever Nest’. Despite taking the attack down a notch, its atmospherics are not lacking in grit and dark edge. The blistering binge of these sessions draw to close with, ‘Ambulance Ride’.  A moody, snarling piece that owes a lot to Suicide. I’m sure Messer’s Vega and Rev would take it as an homage. “11:59 ambulance ride/right now feels like check out time,” Lowery chants and this is your bon nuit to what is no doubt, one hell of a bender of an album. 

Where most posthumous releases feel like vault dumps, these sessions feel like a complete album which never saw the light of day. So, while the title of this release may sound like the faded label on a lost tape of demos, the tracks on here are anything but. Potent and powerful, this compilation is another testament to a talent, which can best be described as a restless candle burning at both ends.


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