I've had fun doing some local press (Niagara Falls Review, CFMU 93.3FM, The Hawk 101.5FM, etc) since the album was released but an album review from good friend/fellow musician, CD Onofrio, really made my heart smile today.
Check it out:
Mave’s Variety - Brandon Agnew & the Pocket 4’s
If you stop by Mave’s Variety, maybe on a sunny afternoon, you’ll be walked into a slow groove by a friendly bass guitar, you’ll notice crunchy guitars and crisp licks, rocking and rolling beats and the sparkling organ sounds whirling above it all. Turn down one aisle and... there goes another heartbreak “I’m so sick of the bitter, I can’t find the sweet” - and another aisle and there’s a “mystic mama reading medicine leaves on the forest floor” and you’ll run into Virginia Woolf, Al Capone, and Patti Smith and “Who they working for? they’re working for you!”... Mave’s Variety is a full length album offering from Brandon Agnew & the Pocket 4s and it will be, oftentimes, speaking directly to you.
“Now it’s up to you, you’re a modern day sensation”
As a rock and roll album, and like any good blues music, it succeeds at getting beyond the problems, that are everywhere, and staying in the moment and there is a lot of momentum, the songs drive, build tension, lay back, and release into the sweet aisle, where even there, the honey has a sting, because these are hard times to be lovers. There are quirky and punky flavors and heartfelt and straightforward sentiments. Variety, and I guess that’s why.
“And if you got the blues right now, why don’t you keep ‘em?”
And what would I buy at Mave’s Variety?
I would pick Trouble from Mave’s variety as my favorite track. “trouble on the coast, in the water, trouble kaleidoscope revealing troubled fathers, troubled police and first responders, troubled streets for the troubled daughters” - Trouble is a lyrical litany drawn from the sort of dizzying times that we live in, a confident rocker with stinging guitar responses to the long list of troubles.
...and who hasn’t felt like they’re in trouble over and over? Or like they can see trouble around every corner? trying to navigate the real dangers and the many narratives of the contemporary world, and if you’re not in trouble in one point of view, you’re in trouble in another ---
”we’re all in trouble when the rich get richer/ there’s trouble for the commons and the bigger picture” ---
And then you get to the check out --- and you’ve got the mess of the world facing you on the pages of every news magazine - “and there’s a little silver lining in every warning” - and what can you do but to figure out how to roll with the punches? How to say yes to this mess? and work with it, and take a look at what’s there and do your damn best to make it better for tomorrow, for the next generations --- and so you’ve got this bundle of bitter, and sweet, and you’ve got attitude, and you’re a modern day sensation --- and you’ve got this life and you get to be this person, this pile of characteristics and character, you’re a variety of things and you’ve got sort of put it together and go and be in this life, with what you’ve got and who you’re with and who’s around you.
“Who you gonna be when all this is over?
when you’re staring at your lover not over your shoulder?
what’s it gonna take for you to let it go?
There’s gonna be punches, you gotta let it roll”
And these days who doesn’t want to be around people making music! There's the synergy of the band on this album that only humans can do - a reprieve from the one hundred percent digital. The music's swells and stops and crescendos and there’s waves in the music and there’s people communicating. Agnew is a sharp song craftsman and a good band leader and the players in the Pocket 4’s are complementary and on point. This is the sort of album that you can listen to at a backyard BBQ on a sunny day or in your ear buds grocery shopping,
Full disclosure, I’ve known Brandon over twenty years and I’ve been following his music since he was leading percussion jams on the lunchroom tables and writing first songs on gorge walks and with that being said, I stand by this music. This is an excellent rock and roll album that I’m proud to endorse, good job Bran.
Check out CD's music here: https://cdonofrio.bandcamp.com/