"Agent Orange is a punk band unlike any other. Everything about them is unique. It could be argued that this is a "hardcore" album (It was realeased in 1981, a year when hardcore classics like "Damaged" and "In God We Trust" were released), and Agent Orange were definately a "punk" band, but they really dont sound like your typical harcore band (The Germs, Minor Threat, MDC). They sound somewhat like Pennywise, except without the metal influence and the monotonous, droning vocals. But what makes them especially unique is these three factors.
First off, the guitar. It is very twangy and generally less distorted than the guitars on most hardcore albums. The reason for this is because before the recording of this album, the singer/guitarist Mike Palm was robbed, and his equipment was stolen, so he had to record through a Fender Bassman amp,giving the guitar that special sound.
Secondly, the lyrics are much more positive than the anti-Reagan lyrics present in virtually every punk band of the '80s. The lyrics mostly reflect on the fall of the punk scene, and they are by no means political (except for the song "America"). The lyrics for the classic song "Bloodstains" might also suggest that they were straight-edge, though I doubt it.
Lastly, they throw in a real treat: Three classic surf tunes, including "Pipeline" and "Miserlou". I would also like to mention the talent these men have. Sure, I love the whole 3 chord, no nonsense deal present in almost every punk band, but it's always nice to hear a guitar solo every now and then.
If you want music that is simple, catchy, and unique, Living in Darkness is for you. Standout tracks include: The title track, America, Bloodstains, and the sweet cover of Dick Dale's "Pipeline".
Danzig801 | 09/01/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This band has been overlooked since punk became a media-viable youth culture and the copy-cats began cashing in. These guys defined California Surf-Punk, putting interesting little twists on surf classics made popular by the Ventures and Dick Dale. This was years before Pulp Fiction, mind you. In comparrison to a lot of music that came after them (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Descendents, etc.) and in the present climate of what is presently out there (a bunch of snot-nosed kids who want to sound like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Descendents, etc.) they come across as poppy and melodic. Trust me, these guys are classic. They're still togther and gig. Buy this album. Go see their show. They've paid more dues than most. END"
Not a band to forget from the 80s punk scean.....
jason pike | salem mass | 11/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"from orange county cali.comes this surf/punk power trio garage band.this album is one of my fav full of the old school punk sound that was some of the best in the 80s.not a hardcore band but some of the true punk .one album i just cant seem to stop listening to it.it is a very addictive album.still seems fresh some 20 years later .if you are in search for some of the forgotten leagends of punk..search this one out.the album just makes me think of the summer and what it would be like to slam dance or pogo on the beach or cruz the beach searching for some punk babes.so oh the highlights on this one are the songs to young to die/bloodstains,the great 2 covers of classic surf tunes buy of course dick dale and the awesome version of pipeline .this re-release on the rhino version of the cd also has some great storys and a interveiw at the end of the disc to let you in on the bands ideas and sound .so for the cheap price you can not go wrong at ALL.just fun fun fun till my dady took my surf board away..."
Not enough credit.
Zelie Nic | Pittsburgh | 06/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think Agent Orange got a whole lot of attention back in the 70s. In the interview I have on my disc they go on about how they weren't really accepted into the hardcore scene, and yet were too hardcore for the art-school punker-types. Square pegs... I mean, the bass player's smiling on the cover!
"Bloodstains" is a classic... but my ultimate favourite here is "A Cry For Help in a World Gone Mad." If you're into a bit more melodic hardcore, like The Wipers or Husker Du, check this surfy/hardcorey record out."