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Agonised Too, “Summer suffering” – review

Updated: 22 June, 2024 Created: 21 June, 2024 By:Adalbert Category: Reviews

Exactly on the 20th of June 2024, i.e. on the first day of the astronomical summer, the debut album of the duo Agonised Too from Gdańsk and Białystok was released. As the album is called ‘Summer Suffering’, the date was no coincidence. The disco ball in the shape of a black gothic heart seems to indicate that this is a joke within the conventions of the widely understood dark independent aesthetic… But the matter is more complicated.wiem „Summer suffering”.

The title of the album, as well as the name of the project, is also a reference to the previous releases of the ‘Agonised by love’ project, in which the authors of ‘Summer suffering’ were participants. That band, whose last album ‘Lovesick socjety’ was released in 2008, was, as the name suggests, trying to develop the darkwave aesthetic of Clan of Xymox, while Agonised Too is much more party-oriented. This should come as no surprise. Bartosz Hervy, responsible for the musical layer, is a DJ well known to all Polish dark independent partygoers (although he may also be familiar to Blindead-listening metalheads). Rafał Tomaszczuk’s style, on the other hand, hasn’t changed too much. His vocal style is the same as on Agonised by Love. The result is exactly what the name of the album suggests – it is, as Zenon Laskowik from the famous Polish Tey cabaret once said, “funny and at the same time – serious! But all jokes aside, because the Polish dark independent scene, which has been in – nomen omen – agony since years, needs this ‘summer suffering’ more than anything else.

The album is a remarkably well-executed example of the dark-synth-future-pop cliché known from post-Depeche German artists like DeVision, Seadreake or even Diorama. But – thankfully – Hervy’s production which is full of memorable leads and synth arpeggios is not a carrier for another Gahan epigon. This is due to Tomaszczuk’s unmistakable vocal expression, which benefit especially when articulated in Polish. It is a pity that there is only one song of this convention on the album, namely ‘Nic nigdy więcej’ (Polish for ‘Nothing nevermore”. It is exactly what one would like to hear more of! A nice track in the spirit of “Podwórkowa Kalkomania” from the best album of both Budka Suflera and Urszula. Well, apart from 1984’s ‘Malinowy król’ LP from which the mentioned song comes, there have been very few strictly synth-pop/wave albums in the history of Polish music. Kombi leaned towards rock and Papa Dance towards disco polo. The extremely catchy title track is also memorable, as is the quieter ‘The only life’ and the extremely danceable end of the album. The latter is enhanced by the cover of Army of Lovers, whose aesthetics fit perfectly with Agonised Too’s style (although Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’ would also fit thematically).

Album can be listened here:

Summer Suffering | Agonised Too (bandcamp.com)

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