On the Secret Machines’ New Album
Before things get too sunny and mild, a rather incongruous figureangershows up front and center on the lead-off track Alone, Jealous & Stoned, which will likely later be known as (This Is the) Love Song in a Nicolas Cage Movie. Everywhere, the lyrics seethe with something about someone who done somebody wrong, though any relevant details are unstated, leaving you with little else to do but to deal with it. Rare are the times that music has been able to transport one to the emotional place of being stuck in a car with a bickering couple. But here it is.
If the Secret Machines can be counted on for anything, it’s epic proportions. So it’s a surprise when, clocking in at almost eight and a half minutes, Daddy’s in the Doldrums registers just after buttery spread and communism as otherwise good ideas that, for one reason or another, never quite coalesce. It never clicks, it never takes off, and I’m guessing because it, of all the album tracks, most resembles their earlier work. Taking this into account, Ten Silver Drops is less a loss of direction and more a transition. The Secret Machines are busy searching for a new sound, in the midst of vast experiments. So here, when they reach into their old bag of tricks, it sounds as if they’re not quite buying it either.
It’s on the aptly titled I Hate Pretending that they really do make the great leap forward, anchoring the song with an impossibly thick synthesizer and sending rollercoaster guitar leads atop it. It’s unwavering, deadly intense, one of the most exciting songs they’ve ever recordedplease let it be an indication of what’s to come.