Review: A.G. Cook – Britpop


A.G. Cook
New Alias
Street: 05.10
A.G. Cook = 100 Gecs + Charli XCX + SOPHIE

A.G. Cook is on the top of the world, whether or not the rest of the world knows it is up to interpretation. Alexander Guy Cook, commonly referred to as “A.G.,” is an english music producer and musician best known for his frequent collaborations with musicians such as Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, and the late SOPHIE. The most recent collaboration Cook has embarked on has been with Charli XCX on the critically acclaimed Brat which currently holds the No.2 spot in the UK charts and only seems to climb with the release of the deluxe edition. Leader of the now defunct PC Music label, Cook seems to be finding his own pacing, whether it be in collaborations or his own solo work.

When not collaborating with some of the biggest names in alt/hyperpop, Cook has been ‘cooking’ up his greatest solo project to date. Britpop is Cook’s newest solo musical endeavor, a goliath of a project coming in at 24 tracks and nearly two hours long. In a blend of all of his previously mentioned collaborators, Britpop almost maintains the experimental sensibilities that would be found from a Radiohead album such as Kid A or A Moon Shaped Pool. Partitioned into 3 separate discs, the album plays almost more like 3 interconnected EPs, which is how I myself tackled digesting the project. The first disc opens with back to back singles “Silver Thread Golden Needle” and the title track “Britpop” which features Charli XCX on guest vocal duty. Disc 1 of Britpop maintains a colorful and bright synth wave of a trip, with most tracks on this disc being presented either with vocal chops or simply instrumentals. While listening to disc 1, tracks such as “Crescent Sun” and “Prismatic” reminded me oddly enough of the instrumentation that could be found from the television series Adventure Time. Furthermore, the first disc provides the warm welcome that those maybe not as inclined into the genre of hyper pop and experimental music can experience. As opposed to some of his earlier work such as Apple Vs 7G, the substitution of harsh, distorted, atonal synths for more danceable and tame pieces is greatly appreciated (at least on this disc.) 

Moving to disc 2 (my personal favorite of the three) we get to see a more relaxed, experimental rock subsection reminiscent of one of Cook’s colab projects Thy Slaughter, between himself and fellow producer EASYFUN. Disc 2 dives more into guitar and drum oriented pieces, yet maintains the signature electronic and synthetic approach Cook is best known for. Tracks such as “Nice to meet you,” “Bewitched,” and “Serenade” reside on this disc which revel in the alternative electronic rock that seems to be a second thought to Cook usually in his projects, but on Britpop is its greatest strength in my personal opinion. A blend of hyperpop instrumentation that sounds inspired from musicians such as 100 Gecs, Disc 2 has a hint of familiarity in its tracks with enough originality to feel surprised simultaneously.

Landing on disc 3 of the project, Cook appears to return to his roots yet he calculates the lessons he learned from both Thy Slaughter and the previous two discs. Laying heavily into the usual distorted synths that his loyal fans have learned to love, Cook provides a counterbalance with tracks such as the ballad “Pink Mask and my favorite single of the bunch, “Soulbreaker.” Sincerely all the tracks on not only disc 3, but the entire project feel not only necessary but required to get the trip-aholic experimental dance experience that this full album presents to its audience. I, by no means, am in love with Alexander Guy Cook. Of his previous projects, my personal favorite would have to be either his work on tracks from Desire, I Want To Turn Into You by Caroline Polachek or his previously mentioned collab rock project known as Thy Slaughter, with myself not having a personal preference towards Cook’s solo material. However, even for the more casual fans of experimental electronic and dance/hyper-pop I cannot recommend Britpop enough. This may not be the electronic experience that certain listeners may favor, however I can guarantee that this is one hell of a listen, and something I feel like I have genuinely never heard before. –Jake Fabbri

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