Secret Machines: Ten Silver Drops

More signs of the prog revival – these Texans are special

Secret Machines
Prog is a four letter word. It’s also the genre that started off with a bold adventurism but became mired in bass solos and music so long-windedly dull that, in 1976, the punk explosion was a matter of life and death.

Prog is what the Secret Machines get labelled. With big tunes and the sense that bountiful narcotics could enhance their gigs, the lineage is clear. However, while the Texan trio are progressive, they share nothing with the prog monkeys for whom music is little more than audio masturbation. Instead, their 2004 debut ‘Now Here Is Nowhere’ charmed its way into record collections as disparate as Noel Gallagher and David Bowie’s.

‘Ten Silver Drops’ is likely to repeat the trick, as rather than wallow in indulgent proggy soundscapes, the wonderfully intense ‘Daddy’s In The Doldrums’ is commandingly suffocating, while the big-skied, fresh pop moments of ‘Faded Lines’ and ‘Lightning Blue Eyes’ fill the record with heart-rushing, adrenalin-pumping joy. Lyrically, the record balances between inward contemplation and outward focus as meditations about “idle kids with idle hearts” jostle with street tales of drug deals gone wrong. While ‘Ten Silver Drops’ lacks the power of its predecessor – the pounding drums are muted in a radio-friendly mix – its vision is assuredly wide. Yes, the Secret Machines do prog, but vitally they do so much more. Come close, there is nothing to fear.

Paul Stokes
7 / 10

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