By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Founding guitarist Benjamin Curtis left Secret Machines in 2007 to form his own band (School of Seven Bells), 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. And, in turn, 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 to swallow for longtime fans. Listening to their older albums, you envision them rocking cocky drumbeats 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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