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Agent Cooper: Beginner's Mind

During the course of the 10 songs on Beginner's Mind, Agent Cooper sounds like four different bands a prog band, an alternative-rock band, a pop band and a classic-rock band while vocalist/guitarist Doug Busbee sends his voice from an appealing straightforward pitch to an evocative falsetto. Agent Cooper, based in Atlanta, has been through some personnel changes between its 1999 self-titled debut and Beginner's Mind, and the long time off may have led to the diversity of material here. Not that there's anything wrong with that

In fact, Agent Cooper's musical dexterity is what makes Beginner's Mind the perfect progressive-rock album for people who don't like progressive rock, because they won't even know they're listening to a band that actually labels itself a modern prog act. While the manic "Shallow Disease" and "Timing Crucial" are easily this record's proggiest pieces, other songs like the ethnic-etched "East Indian Sun" and "I Never Remember" have broad appeal despite their progressive leanings. "Taipai" would be right at home on modern-rock radio, and the mid-tempo "She Screams," in its own warped way, sounds like Styx. Near album's end, the tender "You Know" and "Struggle Like I Do" during which a father encourages his son to straighten out his life reflect more of a singer/songwriter approach, and the acoustic coda on "Struggle Like I Do" hints at an organic, even more melodic direction for this band. With the proper promotion, this Agent may not be a secret for much longer ...

Track Listing:
1) East Indian Sun
2) Shallow Disease
3) In the Bottle
4) Taipei
5) Timing Crucial
6) I Never Remember
7) The Heat
8) She Screams
9) Struggle Like I Do
10) You Know

Added: May 3rd 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Agent Cooper Web Site
Hits: 5980
Language: english

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Agent Cooper: Beginner's Mind
Posted by Steve Ambrosius, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-03 10:51:36
My Score:

Taking 6 years to complete an album is usually not a good sign. Agent Cooper, which is really just a name that Doug Busbee carried on, disbanded and reformed, recording and re-recording songs, with the result being Beginner's Mind. As you can imagine, when dealing with new band mates and going through a selection process to pick six years worth of songs, you get a somewhat disconnected sound. And taken song by song, that can be a good thing. " In The Bottle" and "The Heat" really have almost nothing in common, but are excellent songs in their own right. "She Screams" has a Styx theme, where as "Shallow Disease" could be on Royal Hunt's new release.

Sean Delson(bass) and Frank Fontsere(drums) provide a solid rhythm section, but Beginner's Mind lives and dies with Busbee's guitars and vocals. Although not an amazing vocalist, Busbee does a fine job of matching his sound to the musical style being played. His range is more than adequate to compliment and enhance the songs.

This is a solid release, that works better as a collection of songs than a full album, but is entertaining enough to be recommended for fans of Chain, Presto Ballet or Devin Townsend.

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