ADD Agency’s ‘Gemstone Radar’ is a sleek, sexy and stunning new album
ADD Agency makes music that people sexier than you’ll ever be listen to.
That was my first reaction while listening to the marvelously modern “Gemstone Radar.” Each of this album’s tracks are marinated in the love vomit emitted from an orgy between David Bowie, Michael Jackson and the members of LCD Soundsystem.
Hints of Bowie are especially evident throughout, particularly on the tracks “Sex on the Side,” and “Mermaid of White Sage.”
The whole album feels like a futuristic take on what pop music might sound like in 15 years but yet also borrows from the past’s influences in a way that does not apologize for taking a page from those great artists.
Each song has such a rich texture of sounds layered with precision in a way where each sound complements one another down to a tee.
The whispering vocals that Will Mora, the main performer in ADD Agency, gives the songs an almost Michael Jackson-like quality to them, too, particularly with “Fame” and “Booty Pop,” the album’s first single.
On “Fame,” it’s a track that employs a mysterious riff bolstered by a smooth beat, an interesting synthesizer and the previously-mentioned vocals.
The album also features a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.” I’m kind of torn on this track. In one way it feels fresh, the way Mora employs his artistic liberties with the song, but on the other hand “Paint It Black” has been covered so much by so many different artists that I’m not sure how much originality is left to shake out of it. I do appreciate how he hasn’t just played it straight, and that’s what makes me want to really enjoy the cover, but, on the other hand, it’s still a Rolling Stones song at the end of the day. Covers are tricky like that.
The one thing that connects all these songs together is that they all feel like they’ve been intelligently crafted together. Mora took the time, effort and artistry needed to sculpt catchy synth-pop songs. That’s not always done, so it’s nice to hear when you can plainly tell this isn’t simply paint-by-numbers songwriting.
Even the weakest track on the album, “Cola,” which also is the album’s final one, has plenty of redeeming qualities to it. It’s doomed by a nonsensical chorus and less-than impressive instrumentals. However, it does get stuck in your head and I found myself chanting “Don’t you want to feel all right, don’t you want to feel all right, co-co-co-cola” long after I finished listening to it. So, even if I didn’t particularly care for it, I still found it catchy.
Wrapping it all up, the positives on “Gemstone Radar,” far outweigh the negatives. Even if you can’t really explain what you like about it, you’ll be sure to find something that you enjoy here. It’s intelligent and powerful without feeling pretentious.