Secret Machines – Ten Silver Drops

Secret MachinesWhen Secret Machines released their first full album (the mini album September 000) in 2002, they couldn’t have been more different from the NY garage rock scene. Despite being originally all from Texas, the band recorded their proper full length album (2004’s Now Here Is Nowhere) which showed they were a band that were looking beyond the influence of Television and the Velvets. Now Here Is Nowhere was an album filled with massive-sounding tunes and a firm grasp of volume and texture. In the past few years, the garage rock scene has floundered and music has become more willing to accept more “experimental sounds”. So where do Secret Machines fit into the scene?

They’re not short of fans: David Bowie interviewed them for a podcast for his website and Snow Patrol singer, Gary Lightbody sings their praises almost every chance he gets. But to be honest I found this album a let down. Now Here Is Nowhere was an album that really reached for something; all the sounds and songs felt important. I just don’t get that feeling with the songs on Ten Silver Drops. What’s really worse is that the album starts really well; Alone Jealous & Stoned has the epic feel of their previous album but stays intimate at the same time. But the rest of the album doesn’t match this high. “All At Once (It’s Not Important)” trys to be epic, but for the most part stays fairly ordinary. The vocals at the end try and push the song into another space, but it doesn’t work. “Lightning Blue Eyes” just sounds regular indie rock, “Daddy’s In The Doldrums” just sounds dull. “Faded Lines” just seems to start and stop. The sound is too “muted” if that’s the right word, the music and vocals seem to contradict each other. It’s tricky to explain. “I Want To Know” trys to cut and paste different sounds into the songs, but again it just doesn’t work.

It’s a real pity, as I was looking forward to this album. I can’t really explain what’s gone wrong here. Maybe the band have tried to be intimate and huge at the same time. Nice try, but maybe it’s an idea that needs more work. It’s a shame, because I don’t like writing bad things about a good band. I’d rather write about music I love in the vain hope it makes somebody want to listen to the band. But maybe in the future, I’ll have better luck.

Secret Machines – Alone, Jealous and Stoned:


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