Agent Orange

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Living In Darkness

Agent Orange - Living In Darkness ©1981 Posh Boy/Rhino Records
1. Bloodstains (original Version)
2. Too Young To Die
3. Everything Turns Grey
4. Miserlou
5. The Last Goodbye
6. No Such Thing
7. A Cry For Help In A World Gone Mad
8. Bloodstains (darkness Version)
9. Living In Darkness
10. Pipeline
11. Breakdown
12. Mr. Moto
13. America
14. Bored Of You
15. El Dorado
16. Interview 1981

I'm not exactly sure how many versions are floating around of Agent Orange's Living in Darkness, but this 1992 reissue with bonus tracks and informative liner notes seems to be the most common. Compiling the original eight song album with the original version of "Bloodstains" and some early tracks recorded in 1979 and a 1981 interview, this is probably the most expansive version you can find. Moreover, this album shows the band at their early stages was still quite a strong outfit, as songs like "The Last Goodbye", the title track and of course "Bloodstains" show. Mike Palm's surfesque guitar playing and fairly melodic, "non-punk" vocals define the band. Though the band was tagged with the punk rock label, they did stand outside of the genre's limitations, as their talent level was definitely above some of their peers. It is perhaps the stepped up energy level of songs like "Bloodstains" or "Breakdown" that helped them be included in the punk circles rather than anywhere else. The liner notes on this release are also quite interesting, especially describing their run-in with the crazy studio owner during the recording session for this album. Moreoever, it was quite amusing to find out one of the percussion effects used on "Living in Darkness" was indeed a trash can cover they scrounged from the alleyway outside the studio. Overall, Living in Darkness is indeed a classic record from a venerable act that seems to re-emerge on tour every so often even twenty years later. Definitely a keeper.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2000


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When You Least Expect It

Agent Orange - When You Least Expect It ©1984 Enigma
1. It's Up To Me And You
2. Bite The Hands That Feeds (Part 2)
3. Somebody To Love
4. Out Of Limits

This short melodic EP demonstrates the lighter side of Agent Orange. While suffering from a somewhat weak guitar sound and drums that are louder than necessary, this EP is certainly more surf-music oriented than Living In Darkness, especially on the two instrumentals: "Bite the Hands that Feeds" and "Out of Limits". Their choice of a cover, "Somebody to Love", is interesting but not really pulled off convincingly. I do, however, like "It's Up to Me and You". Decent, but nothing that will blow your socks off and make you a fan for life.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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