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Secret Machines
Now Here Is Nowhere
Reprise Records

Alright, fine. I'll admit it: for once, major magazines have got it right. For years they've been glorifying mediocre sluts like the Strokes and the White Stripes as saviors of rock, to the point that the phrase "next big thing" became a synonym for "next big letdown." So naturally, when buzz started building around the Secret Machines, I was cautious, to the say the least.

It took exactly four minutes and thirteen seconds, the length of their single, "Nowhere Again", to assuage my fears. No, they're not making history or saving an entire genre, but that doesn't mean they don't have talent in super-hero proportions. If ever you could call shoegazer music grandiose, now would be the time. Josh Garza's epic drums, Benjamin Curtis's multi-faceted guitars, Brandon Curtis's throbbing base and floating keys, and above all the mesmerizing interwoven vocals between the Curtis brothers, all combine to produce a sound that is both exhilarating and larger than life. Except for their foray into amorphous, ethereal songwriting in "The Leaves Are Gone" and "You Are Chains", every song on their debut album Now Here In Nowhere pounds itself into the listener's bloodstream with forceful determination. But while it's all infectious and energizing, it never gets overbearing. Even with two songs clocking in around nine minutes, at no time does the album feel redundant or monochromatic. There's a remarkable aesthetic quality that shifts mood and tone in subtle and captivating ways.

Produced by the Secret Machines themselves, the album is a reflection of their live performance, where each song flows into the next, with a bare minimum of extraneous bullshit to pull the listener out of the moment. In this respect, both the live show and the album have a meditative quality as if, by participating, the audience is leaving their body and mind to explore that elusive connection between sound and spirit. It's an acid trip, but without the acid. And while comparisons are constantly being made to Pink Floyd, there's nothing about this album that seems derivative, or nostalgic. This album is purely one of our generation.

So I guess I should thank mainstream music media: for once, you've gotten it right. There's nothing secret about the fact that these guys are going to be huge.

-Emily Strong

Track Listing:

1. First Wave Intact
2. Sad And Lonely
3. The Leaves Are Gone
4. Nowhere Again
5. The Road Leads Where It's Lead
6. Pharaoh's Daughter
7. You Are Chains
8. Light's On
9. Now Here Is Nowhere

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