Red Letter Agent

Under Starlight -

With the release of its six-track debut EP, Under Starlight, Atlanta-based quartet Red Letter Agent brandishes a Brit-rock sound that cannot help but draw immediate comparisons to rock-sensation Coldplay. Melodic riffs and keys and a cymbal-heavy backbeat set the tone for a series of metaphorical love songs that blend into an overall euphoric and buoyant musical trance.

Lead singer James Templeton’s croon carries the range and vocal presence of Bono, but at times appears lost amid cliched lyrics. For example, on the radio-friendly title-track, Templeton sings, “Tonight I saw you under the moon/Under starlight/You were divine.” On tracks such as “Tonight” and “Crossing Over,” Templeton’s vocals are paired with guitarist Travis Jones’ reverberating tremolo — similar to the effect R.E.M.’s Peter Buck uses on his band’s mid-’90s single “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” — setting a capricious and illusory mood. The closing tracks “Fallen in My Heart” and “Hooked to You” blend for a reposed ending to the EP, contrasting its up-tempo, high-energy start.

Red Letter Agent’s catchy sound and proficient live show have helped the group make a name for itself in the Atlanta music scene, and with Under Starlight, the group continues to gain momentum. The EP was recorded at Atlanta’s Sonica Studios, and produced and mixed by John Briglevich (who has worked with a number of locals such as Sevendust and Stuck Mojo). Red Letter Agent’s lively sound, reproduced faithfully in Under Starlight, has caught the ears of the local community and is worthy of a sampling. The challenge that lies ahead for the foursome is building on borrowed sounds to distinguish Red Letter Agent from its influences.

Red Letter Agent plays its CD release party Thurs., June 3, at Smith’s Olde Bar. 9 p.m. $8.