Local Wire

Secret Machines

Boasting a new guitar player and radio-friendly appeal, the Secret Machines' third full-length meanders through the band's trademark shoegaze sound. Founding guitarist Benjamin Curtis left the band in 2007 to form his own band, but the remaining members recruited Phil Karnats of Tripping Daisy fame to fill the large void, and his style of play is unmistakably present on the album. Secret Machines — clearly missing Curtis' fuzzy, spaced-out riffs — features Karnats' polished, heavy-rock chords. The band has adopted a relatively lighter, poppier sound, mainly due to Karnats' style. Metronomic drums and prog-rock guitars still fill the album's landscape, but the effort is jumbled and confusing. The band cannot figure out what direction it wants to go, and that indecision provides the album with a disjointed, almost aimless feel. It will most certainly come as a difficult pill for longtime fans to swallow. Listening to their older albums, you envisioned them rocking cocky drum beats and playing joyous romps through spacey, new style prog-rock. Secret Machines, however, is far too sluggish to paint a picture of the band doing anything but filling out their taxes.
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Michael Lopez