Agent 51

Just Keep Runnin'

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Mainstream pop-punk of the blink-182/Green Day variety (they're from the same scene as the former, and this album was released by Billie Joe Armstrong's label), Agent 51 have a Dickies-like tongue-in-cheek quality. The cover art and most band photos find the group dressed like extras from the Men In Black films, and the band mythology posits that they're former members of an ultra-secret government agency that controls the world (the singalong rocker "C.I.A.F.B.I." and several other tracks flesh out the concept). For all that, however, Agent 51 is a straightforward '70s-style pop-punk band, and not a bad one to boot. Although these 20 brief songs -- over and out in just over an hour -- do tend to bleed into one another, the quartet bash their way cheerfully through them with an offhand, casual charm that puts potentially marginal tracks like the Tenpole Tudor-like nautical jaunt "The Last Pirate Song" over on sheer goofball attitude. Just Keep Runnin' is basically insubstantial, but a lot of fun.

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