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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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New groups bring mix of sounds

The secret is out. The summer of 2004 promises to be a productive and prosperous season, at least for rock and roll. An eclectic mix of talented musicians from New York, by way of Texas, make up Secret Machines proving it does not take a stage full of musicians to create a wall of sound. With the release of Reprise Records’ “Now Here is Nowhere,” the group hopes for long lasting success in a seemingly burgeoning and reborn rock genre.

The trio is composed of brothers Brandon and Ben Curtis and Josh Garza. The Curtis’ were playing in UFOFU while drummer Garza was honing his skills in Comet. After Brandon, Ben left to play in Captain Audio with Garza. Ben joined the ranks of Tripping Daisy, followed by a short stint in When Babies Eat Pennies. Secret Machines was conceived at a rock and roll potluck dinner improvisation performance. The band started writing and playing together in July of 2000.

The album is an eclectic mixture of synth-driven heavy beats and hot rod guitar tones that convict the spirit for not living. Chantey guitars and anthemic builds are part of its unique sound. Ambient and driving drums lead off the nine minute opener “First Wave Intact”. The song gradually moves into more upbeat and slamming numbers. The meat does not appear until halfway through the record when depth and processed effects coincide, and an anti-war theme is revealed.

Dark Side of the Moon psychedelia and a hypnotic military rhythm dances through the lines in “The Road Leads Where It’s Led.”

Cultivating sounds/For all the mothers who come near to find out/Calling pulse bombs, a response/With cotton in their ears and goodbye kisses for the ones in the ground/Collecting fallout from the blast.

“Pharoah’s Daughter,” a jazzy and lighter number, uses war imagery on a canvas of piano fusing drums, droning keyboard lines and layered distortion.

A happy dancing youth ignores the combat drenched land her family lives in. I wonder/Was that the famous daughter/Of the well-heeled revolving oh-so-fine/While we were building caskets/for the boys in leather jackets.

The title track takes you on a journey through time and space. It combines stacked vocals contrasted by slightly broken keyboard tones. Contemplating death and life the process of moving from one to the other with lines like, Who rests in dust/Who moves in air? The song questions our existence and the futility of life.

Blasting drums and guitar do not threaten vocal integrity; this is a well mixed record. Quality of sound is important as song texture and this album has it all. A headphone favorite indeed.

Secret Machines will be appearing at the Newport in Columbus on June 3 and the Majestic Theatre in Detroit on June 4.

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