Follow Us on Twitter

The Secret Show - Impressionist Road Map Of The West

The Secret Show, Impressionist Road Map of the West

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

MATTHEW Davies, lead vocalist of Funeral For A Friend, has been exploring new venues of creativity with side project The Secret Show.

In his own words: “I started messing around with these country songs, just me and the guitar. They didn’t fit Funeral For A Friend at all – and yet singing them felt so natural. By the summer, I had an album’s worth of material.”

The ensuing album is spearheaded by the lead single Lovers, which actually gives rise to a false sense of security.

It’s a straight-forward rock track built around some blistering guitar solos, a keen sense of melody and some fine husky vocals that are more restrained than normal.

But anyone expecting the remainder of the album to follow in similarly upbeat fashion may be disappointed. The emphasis is much more firmly on the country vibe and it’s during the majority of the ensuing tracks that Davies can be seen to forsake the post-hardcore intensity of his band in favour of campfire choruses, rootsy mandolins and dustbowl vocals.

There are some great moments. Manana is another rockier effort that trades low-key, acoustic verses with some crunching guitar-led choruses; Davies’ vocals at their most aching.

The presence of Lianne Francis adds some nice boy-girl vocal layering on a couple of tracks, most notably The Widow when she takes the lead.

And Everyone’s a Critic is a real foot-shuffler, built around some lively banjo riffs and a much livelier vibe that serves as a bit of a wake up call from the campfire niceness of the rest of proceedings.

There’s no denying that Impressionist Road Map Of The West is musically accomplished, or that Davies had fun making it and stretching himself artistically, but unless you share a similar passion for country music you might find it a little hit-and-miss.

Download picks: Lovers, Manana, Everyone’s a Critic

Track listing:

  1. Lovers
  2. Two Drowned Rats In The Desert
  3. The Girl From Chapel Hill
  4. We Blaze A Trail
  5. Impressionist Road Map Of The West
  6. The Duke
  7. Manana
  8. The Widow
  9. Old Blacktop
  10. Everyone’s A Critic
  11. The One That I Love