Agent Ribbons

Chateau Crone

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Agent Ribbons' second album, Chateau Crone, is a haunting, timeless effort that takes the influence of ‘60s pop and psychedelia and channels it through a modern-day D.I.Y. indie rock sensibility. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Natalie Ribbons (Gordon) is the focal point for the band, which began as a duo with drummer Lauren Hess but has grown into a trio with the addition of violinist Naomi Cherie. Ribbons's spooky-but-sweet ballads bring to mind the softer side of ‘60s psych outfits like the Jefferson Airplane and United States of America: fragrant, intoxicating flora with elegantly arranged leaves hiding a spiky armory of thorns. The dirty guitar lines and trash-can drums driving the opening track "I'm Alright" give off a garage rock vibe that evokes contemporaries like Frankie Rose & the Outs, but ultimately prove to be a bit misleading, as the majority of Chateau Crone is more about carefully crafted tunes that take deliciously twisted turns than rock & roll rave-ups. The work of White Magic would probably make for a more apt post-psych comparison. On the likes of "I Was Born to Sing Sad Songs," Ribbons' compositional know-how seems to reach even further back for inspiration, to the more harmonically sophisticated era of mid-century standards, much in the way the Velvet Underground did for "After Hours" or the Mamas and the Papas did on "Got a Feelin'." But the other two members of Agent Ribbons aren't exactly standing idly by on Chateau Crone, either; Hess adds an appropriately homespun, thrift-store ambience to the tunes with her blend of tribal thumping and percussive clatter, while Cherie lends more exotic tones, bringing a touch of Eastern European gypsy-folk flavor to tracks like "I'll Let You Be My Baby." It all adds up to the kind of sound that can catch you by surprise and send you into a sudden reverie, so avoid operating heavy machinery while under the influence of this album.

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