Tag Archives: tupamaros

REVIEW: SECRET SMOKER – TERMINAL ARCHITECTURE

Band – Secret Smoker

Album – Terminal Architecture

Label – Protaganist/Adagio830

I feel that, more often than not, I have to start blog posts on here with an apology. There has been so much going on recently, (nightmare house moves etc…), that I just haven’t had time to write anything. Thanks for being patient and thanks for sticking with me, I will do my best to get things posted quicker. Now, I am usually apologising for being a few weeks behind with album reviews but this takes the biscuit as I’m about a year behind telling you about this band. And I really am genuinely sorry that I haven’t told you about Secret Smoker already because they are fantastic.

Secret Smoker were brought to my attention at the end of last year after writing about Sed Non Satiata, I was told that as I had liked the last Sed Non Satiata record so much then I would love these guys and they weren’t wrong. There have been many bands that I have posted about in the last couple of years who are playing a style of music massively influenced by bands from the 90 but Secret Smoker have something different about them. Instead of seeing just an influence in their music, they sound like they are of this time. No bandwagon jumping or fad sounds here, instead a band making a genuinely brilliant emo record.

I remember being in Germany at the start of the century and being completely blown away by a band called Tupamaros, the intensity and energy they displayed made a massive impact on me. It’s probably no coincidence that the band I had been in at the time moved away from the more Get Up Kids sounding songs to a heavier, more intense sound. I get a similar feeling listening to Secret Smoker, it strikes me that this is how this music should be played.

secret smoker

What makes Secret Smoker really stand out is their ability to move seamlessly from the fast paced, heavier songs to the more mid paced lighter songs without dropping any standards. You see this straight from the start of the record with the first 2 tracks, ‘Staircase’ and ‘Crushed by Air’, 2 perfect examples that Secret Smoker pack as much excitement and emotion into their songs regardless of the tempo. There isn’t a drop in quality throughout this record, 10 songs that excite, entertain and get you pumped for more. Putting a label on a band is always awkward, I’ve never used the word Skramz (until now) and I feel very self conscious if I describe a band as screamo, but it helps in a review so I’ll just say that Secret Smoker are a perfect example of this kind of band, emo done right if you will.

If you have been searching for something a bit different to listen to, something with the intensity of Human Hands and the energy of Plaids, something that takes you back a little further to Yaphet Kotto then you can’t go wrong with this record.  highly recommend it, its my favourite record of last year that I didn’t hear until this year, if that’s a thing.

Thanks for reading.

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Review: La Dispute – Wildlife

Band – La Dispute

Album – Wildlife

Label – No Sleep Records

What is it that I don’t get about La Dispute?

I have friends that adore them, they’re creating a massive buzz, getting rave reviews and they’re best buds with some of my favourite bands. Yet, I don’t get it. I’ve really, really tried to like them, I really want to like them. I keep listening the new album ‘Wildlife’, and while it’s a massive step up from the last album, ‘Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair’, I still cannot call myself a fan.

The problem I have is definitely with the music because I really do like the vocals. They are La Disputes strongest point, the vocal style is a mix of Tupamaros and At the Drive-in with a good dose of heart and clever lyrics. The music sells it short, maybe it’s overshadowed by the vocals but even still nothing about it grabs you and demands your attention. Like I already said though the music has improved a lot from the last record but its still lacking. There’s nothing to get you excited or that you can lose yourself in about the music, no hook that will imbed itself in you and force you to return to the album time and time again.

La Dispute are a lot different from the other bands in their scene, they are experimenting with different sounds and different ways to present an album and for that they should definitely be applauded. ‘Wildlife’ is a concept album, a collection of short stories bookmarked by four songs. A lot of thought and care has gone into the lyrics and the story they convey, this is clearly most important for the band, the lyrics come first before the music. There are times on the album where things come together and it does work. ‘King Park’is a highlight, it’s moving and the music is matched to the haunting lyrical story which combines to give a taste of what a good band they could be. But these moments are few and far between and in an album which is 14 songs long,do get drowned out.

‘Wildlife’ is not a bad album. If you liked any of La Dispute’s previous output then you will certainly enjoy this. They are getting better and I know I will be finding myself in the minority here but, for whatever reason, I don’t get it. Let me know your opinion on this one.
Cheers x

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