Alex Bleeker & The Freaks - Country Agenda - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Alex Bleeker & The Freaks - Country Agenda

by James Weiskittel Rating:6.5 Release Date:2015-10-20
Country Agenda, the latest album from Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, is every bit the 'lazy afternoon drive' soundtrack that the title suggests. One look at the 'paint by numbers' (no, seriously) album cover, and one is instantly transported to the backseat of their grandparent's station wagon, heading on down the coast... and if that memory doesn't actually exist for you, well Country Agenda does a fine job of filling in the blanks.
Opening with a couple of 'AM Radio-ready' gems in 'Little Dream I Had' and 'California', it is clear by the first couple of strums of the title track that Bleeker and co have nailed the Harvest by way of Terrapin Station vibe (and sound) this time out, albeit with an almost calculated precision.
Standout singles "The Rest" and "Sealong Hair" continue to gently drive the album along in first gear until it concludes softly with the rather beautiful, and obligatory 'last call'-vibe of "They've Gone Home", a song that easily could have closed out any number of mid-70's classics.  
Country Agenda sounds beautiful as well, in no way feeling like the 'Lo-Fi' weekender it rightfully and easily could have been.  And the real strength of the album lies in how much it evokes the sounds of yesteryear without ever really feeling too derivative or canned.  
While not as dramatic a departure from his day-job (with indie-rock stalwarts Real Estate) as say, a hip-hop or metal record would have been, Bleeker's Country Agenda is still a welcome and worthwhile deviation from the otherwise familiar sonic territory that is typical of most 'side-project' albums.  And while channeling the '70's soft rock vibe' so intently leaves little room for anything not already familiar sounding, I suspect that with Country Agenda, that wasn't really the point to begin with.

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