Strange Agency: Strange One

Impressive debut from anarcho-prog outfit.

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Had this unruly bunch of West Wales long-hairs been signed to Stiff Records in 1976, you can’t help but think chart success would surely have been theirs.

With charismatic, bowler-hatted frontman Craig High taking on the Ian Dury role, their debut seethes with a righteous anger, High taking literate pot shots at big business (Corporate Buildings), organised religion (Mammon) and consumer apathy (Whirlpool) amid a swirling cacophony of psych-rock riffing from guitarist Dave Bates.

Even if the rough’n’ready production leaves you wondering what might have been had a professional knob-twiddler been at the helm, the quality of the songwriting is unarguable, best of all being Digging Holes, where High ruminates on the difficulties of disposing of the body of his dead father. In a sane world, he’d be a pop star.

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.