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Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops

Secret Machines, Ten Silver Drops

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ACCORDING to Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis, Ten Silver Drops is ‘more focused and a little sharper’ than its predecessor, having been conceived while on the road touring with the likes of Oasis, U2, Kings of Leon and Interpol.

It certainly contains a more muscular feel – although that’s not to say the band has lost any of its melody.

Ten Silver Drops delivers both – from the epic yearning of opening track Alone Jealous and Stoned (in itself a great title) to the angry foreboding of Daddy’s In The Doldrums.

If anything, this third album could win even more fans for the Texan rockers who have since relocated to New York (the album was recorded in the Catskills mountains of New York state).

It’s ambitious, lively in places and occasionally cinematic in scope, building to some giddy highs that capably cast aside any suggestion that they are rooted in one sound.

Take, for instance, the hymnal start to album opener Alone Jealous and Stoned, which hints at U2’s Where The Streets Have No Name before giving way into an epic slice of space-rock. It’s a bittersweet tale of longing that delivers some beautifully melancholic riffs.

But it contrasts nicely with the more expansive sound of former single Lightning Blue Eyes, with its buzzing guitar riffs and multi-layered sound that includes some infectious melodies and a rousing, driving style that instantly gets under your skin and refuses to let go.

Josh Garza’s meaty drums provide a fitting backdrop to Curtis’ deeply American vocals on the rousing All At Once, while Faded Lines is a sublime piece of psych-rock that is enlivened by some sharp hooks and its electronic bedding (vocally, it’s reminiscent of Lloyd Cole).

The brighter moments are, of course, counter-balanced by some moments of genuine brooding and melancholy.

The aforementioned Daddy’s In The Doldrums drips with foreboding – the guitars assuming a much more sinister edge, the background instrumentals more atmospheric and Pink Floyd-like and the drums layering on the menace. It’s a haunting track but no-less impressive.

I Want To Know If It’s Still Possible is similarly atmospheric, beginning amid some sampled rolling thunder before dropping some really melancholy guitar riffs and a nice piano chord.

It sort of rolls into the similarly slow-building final effort, 1,000 Seconds, a haunting finale that hints at the epic psychedelia of The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree courtesy of its vocal melodies.

Much like The Flaming Lips (who coincidentally release their new album), Secret Machines have somehow managed to find beauty in despair. The last track, especially, talks about the end of the world but does so in such epic, inspiring fashion that you won’t feel depressed.

It’s an impressive third album that really deserves to find a wide audience.

Track listing:

  1. Alone Jealous And Stoned
  2. All At Once (It’s Not Important)
  3. Lightning Blue Eyes
  4. Daddy’s In The Doldrums
  5. I Hate Pretending
  6. Faded Lines
  7. I Want To Know If It’s Still Possible
  8. 1000 Seconds