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Boyd Rice & Death In June - Alarm Agents

Alarm Agents is the first collaboration from Boyd Rice featuring Douglas P. where Death In June have been properly referenced in the artist title. Previously they've been listed amongst Boyd's friends or entirely hidden when working under the monicker of Scorpion Wind or Wolfpact. Despite the intentional marketing spin there's little to separate this from their previous collaborations. Indeed one criticism levelled at Alarm Agents concerns the lack of input from Douglas P. However even the least astute listener should note that Douglas's presence can be detected all over Alarm Agents. Much of the music was originally composed by Douglas P. for the (temporarily) shelved Death In June album The Concrete Fountain. Douglas's cultured tones appear on 'Storm on the Sea', and his vocal harmonies feature prominently. The immaculate percussion throughout is provided by John Murphy.

With his honeyed voice speaking of mythology, symbols and archetypes Boyd Rice takes precedence on Alarm Agents, amidst the familiar minor key guitar chords and sterling percussion work. Alarm Agents largely eschews the traditional verse-chorus song structure for a loose approach where Douglas's music provides musical backing to Boyd's musing and words of advice. Together with the sun and the moon, a nautical theme is quite in evidence, in the titles and in a series of tracks utilising sea based samples, and tidal effect guitar remmiscent of the sound of lapping waves. There's even a number of experimental tracks such as 'Deeper Than Love' with an amusingly provoking sample and discordant, reverberating ebow or on 'Are You Out There', which provides a NON-esque interlude of distant harmonies, treated vocals and spartan percussion. The best moments on Alarm Agents arise from timeless acoustic tracks such as 'Symbols In Souls' and the sixties folk-pop of 'Summer is Gone', which recalls Boyd's sojourn with Rose McDowall as Spell where they worked their devilish charms on a series of songs dedicated to love and death.

Alarm Agents isn't as hate-filled as the seminal Music, Martinis & Misanthropy nor as mythologically intensive as Scorpion Wind, and it doesn't compare too favourably with vintage Death In June such as But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter? or Rose Clouds of Holocaust. The main problem with Alarm Agents is that it doesn't seem to have a focus. It ranges from Boyd questioning the nature of divinity, to amended Dusty Springfield song lyrics, pristine acoustic moments to Boyd imparting wholesome advice. I'm always interested in what these two protagonists conspire and as, at points, Alarm Agents recalls NON, Death In June, Spell and Boyd's previous spoken word release it's worthy of your time but it's not the most fitting end to a previously inspired collaboration between Boyd and Douglas. Alarm Agents by Boyd Rice and Death in June is distributed by Tesco Distribution. For more information go to or