The quirk-folk duo (sometimes touring as a trio) has patched together an impressive touring history, crisscrossing the U.S. several times since their formation some time around 2006. Stitching together a loyal following, angering British customs officials -- the band has been barred from entering the U.K. for ten years due to a visa snafu on a tour several years ago -- and blithely forgoing many modern trappings -- including cell phones -- in favor of a simpler life, magenta-haired vocalist/guitarist Natalie Gordon and her brunette rhythm section, Lauren Hess, comprise the neo-Victorian playhouse rock ensemble Agent Ribbons.
There is an element of spook in Agent Ribbons' girls-in-the-garage harmonies. Think children in white nightgowns standing on creaky stairs, or a buried treasure box in the backyard hiding a terrible secret. Yet the band's lyrics can also be adorably tongue-in-cheek; they're a striped-sock sideshow, but they're winking at you the whole time. "I was born to sing sad songs / that go on for more than three minutes long," sings Gordon on "I Was Born to Sing Sad Songs," an oddly funny little tune from their most recent full-length, "Chateau Crone." "Let Them Talk" is a wistful song about outgrowing a boy, and the violin-tinged "Bird in a Mirror" waltzes gently along as Gordon sings, plaintively, to a ghost: "I found your hair growing in the ground somewhere / Wait until I find your bones / So that you won't be buried alone." Agent Ribbons spins a fine line between spine-tingle and wide-eyed charm, a little too mischievous to be haunted but a little unnerving all the same.