Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Secret Machines
Ten Silver Drops
Rating: 5/5

Now, I know I give pretty high ratings on this blog, but that's because life is too short to write about shit music when it's your own time. This album is a case in point. Although perhaps not as personally influential as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and Division Bell albums, the Pretenders or Coldplay's Rush of Blood to the Head, it is the album I feel most kinship with as a musician. To recreate it live, Benjamin Curtis (possibly the most talented guitarist of this generation besides Tom Morello and sharing the pedestal with Nick McCabe of The Verve) used five (five!) amplifiers, and two separate sets of pedals. I remember being shocked at how complex his set up was, and I feel that it may have influenced the fact that I have, as I write this, two amps, myriad cables and a stereo guitar pedal set-up with a guitar synth as a separate stereo signal path.

So, personal bullshit aside, what does it sound like? Outer space. I don't know. When I first heard the word 'psychedelic', I had a lot of associations formed in my mind that left me frankly unfulfilled when I first encountered it as a musical genre. You see, I was raised with the 'Floyd, and that shit really turned my head inside out, but this fucking psychedelic rock was fucking boring as hell! What gives? The same is true today- I still get suckered in to expecting far out spatial trips and then hearing what is basically post punk, or classic rock, or whatever. I'm a synaesthete (haven't mentioned that before, but it's true), and so let me tell you, I know fucking psychedelic when I hear it.

Back to the point then:
Q: what does this record sound like?

From 'Alone, Jealous and Stoned', the atmosphere of all-enveloping space rock never lets up, and the album is just downright fucking beautiful the whole way through; even though 'All at Once' and 'I Want to Know if it's Still Possible' piss me off no end, for some reason I don't care. Look at the standout tracks on there:

Alone, Jealous and Stoned
Lightning Blue Eyes
Daddy's in the Doldrums
I Hate Pretending
Faded Lines
1,000 Seconds

Oh wait, is that basically just the tracklisting? Yes it fucking well is! In the context of six absolute, no question, five-out-of-five tunes is it any surprise that the two solid 3/5 ones don't matter?

In conclusion: for a record that is both woefully underappreciated and will truly blow your mind, get your grubby mitts on this masterpiece of 21st century musical revolution. Ben Curtis left the band after this album, so it will forever stand as a monument of what could have been. Word.

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