From: Greg Howard (Stickist@aol.com)
Subject: Agent 22
Date: Fri, Jun 25, 1999
originally published to "Sticknews" an online Chapman Stick discussion group
I returned from Holland to find a copy of the new eponymous CD by the trio known as Agent 22 (Stick player Tom Griesgraber, guitarist Jimmy Patton and drummer/percussionist Ryan Moran). My first exposure to this music was when I played a concert at MiraCosta college near San Diego with these fellows opening up. The strength of the compositions kept them solidly in my head until today when I could hear them in a definitive form. The 11 original instrumentals are recorded basically true to the band's live sound, with Jimmy tapping on two guitars at once, but with Ryan overdubbing some percussion parts and additional percussion provided on two tracks by guest Roy Gonzales.
There is a simplicity and melodic strength to the tunes that I find inviting. Styles vary from a "spy film title song" to a funk-inspired jam, with a few sweet ballads mixed in. Where others would be tempted to throw layer after layer of orchestral "red herrings", Agent 22 invites you into their tasteful collection of energetic and tastefully-rendered tunes. Tom's Stick tone is unmistakable in the bass, but when mingled with Jimmy's two tapped guitars, the whole becomes one big 22-stringed orchestra (the origin of the band's name, if I remember correctly :).
The playing is consistently appropriate, with an occasional jaw-dropping flourish from Jimmy, and never "overpowers" the songs. I always have a lot of respect for an album that says "these are my tunes" and not "these are my bitching solos." Agent 22 is just such an album.
I'm looking forward to repeated listenings to get a bit more inside this disc.
Congrats to Tom, Jimmy and Ryan on their debut.
For more info check out www.thossounds.com or write to:
P. O. Box 230862
Encinitas, CA 92023