The Agenda: Start the Panic

The Agenda
Start the Panic

In 1996 there was a band called The Delta 72 who released a little known album The R&B of Membership on Touch & Go Records. The Delta 72 played rock and roll the way the Rolling Stones meant for it to be played: with a whole lot of attitude. The band released a couple of albums of their infectious, ’60s-style R&B, and toured to a rabid but small fan base before breaking up. They were mostly compared to the Make Up, another band who championed rock and roll that you could dance to, and were loved by those who knew them — a number that probably hovered around a thousand.

Flash forward to 2002, and the Hives have taken America and MTV by storm. Playing a style of music very similar to the Delta 72, they’ve got scores of fans and are adored by the press. Musically, the big difference between the two is that the Hives are more punk-influenced and less dance-oriented than Delta. The Hives are also from Sweden, have really cool made-up names and wear matching suits. The other big difference is that while the Delta 72 are an obscure indie band, the Hives are rock gods.

Anyways, now comes the Agenda, who sound exactly like the Delta 72 crossed with the Hives. They’ve got songs called “Crash! Crash!”, “Last Chance for Action”, and “I Want the Panic!”. They’ve also got really neat names like J.R. Suicide, Ian the Face, Digital Dan, Switchblade Stevie, and Ryan Riot. Like Delta and the Hives, they’ve studied the early work of the Rolling Stones, the Stooges and James Brown. They also use the organ, which is why the Delta comparison figures so prominently. They also seem to be less trash and burn than the Hives, displaying a bit more of Delta’s sense of groove. And they happen to rock me like a hurricane. How can I not be suckered in, when the guitars start wailing, the organ sounds like it’s being played by the Devil himself and vocalist J.R. Suicide starts howling as if his life depended on it?

It would seem that the Agenda should be onto something. They’re on Kindercore, which should keep the indie kids happy. They’ve got made up names and wear the requisite mod clothes, which should keep the MTV kids happy. They write great songs that will have you up and shaking what your mamma gave ya, which should keep most people who like shaking their thang happy. If they can back this album up in a live setting, they should have no problem building a fan base. It would seem that the stars have aligned perfectly for the Agenda to experience nothing but success. Of course, there is the matter of timing and the fickleness of record buyers. The Delta 72 were six years too early, could the Agenda be six months too late?