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Album Review: Spiro Agnew - OH What Model Citizens We Be

Album Review: Spiro Agnew - OH What Model Citizens We Be

Named after our only Vice President forced to resign in disgrace, guitar and synth duo Spiro Agnew explore dark, politically charged social commentary through their new experimental rock album OH What Model Citizens We Be. The album is both compelling and inconsistent, with undeniably forceful moments but songs that vary wildly in quality. Some aspects of Spiro Agnew’s sound are better developed than others.

OH What Model Citizens We Be is angsty and nostalgic. Many tracks are introduced by (and sometimes layered over) audio clips from political rallies and interviews from the 70’s, mostly consisting of diatribes against hippy culture by political figures. Vocals are sung over electronic beats, simple keys, and distorted guitar. The album is at its best when these elements come together in ways that grab the listener’s attention and subsequently expand into emotional payoff. “John Kennedy’s Dead” has compelling tempo changes in-between verses and a more complex beat, and the following track “Guns in Town” has some of the best singing on the album, strangely muted and in contrast to the sharp, swelling sounds of the guitar and keyboard.

However, the album suffers from a lack of cohesiveness. The vocals range from compelling to bland, as do the lyrics. I found myself sometimes unable to tell if the vocalist’s under-emotional performance was thematic or an inability on his part to flow with the crescendo and climax of his songs - tracks like “Waste My Time” and “Fly With Me” attempt to draw out feelings like frustration and consolation respectively, but both just come off as lyrically juvenile. I found the keyboards overly repetitive and not very interesting throughout most of the album, which was detrimental to the composition of many of their songs.

Spiro Agnew’s eschewing of emotional crescendo in general could be purposeful, but if that’s the case it isn’t done well enough to hold my attention all the way through the album. In contrast, the title track is probably one of their best songs partly because the lyrics have some real feeling behind them while still managing to flow with the rest of Spiro’s sound. By the end, I found that I had enjoyed OH What Model Citizens We Be, but the inconsistent elements in performance and song quality keep Spiro Agnew’s first album from being great.


Oh What Model Citizens We Be by Spiro Agnew

-Kyle Wheat

OH What Model Citizens We Be can be purchased here.

Published: October 07, 2010 |

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