Burrowing deep in a crease at an uncharted pole of your being, resonating frequencies in rare, often musty air; an entity bearing the mark of Rock music, Secret Lover arrives.
They cruise well after the nostalgia that has many clamoring for simple times found in early century blues roots. They dig far beneath concrete foundations, burying acoustic beat era folk in its shallow grave. They leave soundtracks of peace and protest at a forgotten rally with hand written signs. They’re really not known to break things that aren’t theirs, so they don’t need spikes.
They crimp midi cables and corrupt the digital interfaces hiding music hackery. They rewind self-loathing, and close the dairy. They care about what they do, their cool falls secondary, so collars down. Born before Moog was normal, they relish lo-fi. They hid in a shoe box until destiny knocked them off a dusty shelf. They ended up in a cassette tape deck, stellar-as-ever, post-punk, art-core and beyond.
Matter of Tongues
Rolling a new EP release, The Lasso, right at the end of 2013 Secret Lover has stolen the year, giving amplified instruments renewed purpose. Back in Milwaukee a year and half after testing their Summer Demo on a few willing heads, they recently meandered back to a small venue in Riverwest to kick off 2014.
Lyrics rarely carry entire albums so resolutely both in content and vocal quality, and there Sally Horowitz exudes everything that now means. Controlling the mood and moments in every song with her voice, she celebrates micro-drama paradigms and self-determined sensibilities, soaking them in perpetually shifting meter and tempo, unpredictable melodies and soul-snatching contralto octave switches; punctuating stanzas with an occasional evocative spoken “Oh Yeah”. And the band has the tab covered.
Lead guitar John Guida divides himself on most songs between rhythm and solo parts, distortion and hollow pickups, like a man with no palms, and a third brain hemisphere. He’s the docent for The Lasso, quietly guiding ruddy ears on an indie journey, propelling Secret Lover’s purposefully crude product, substantiated by highly technical methods, to the moon.
Sewing the void left between vocals and lead, Lars Paulson pulsates sticky rhythmic effluvia on bass, following structure momentarily before dribbling spontaneous scales with nice handle, subtly giving the final outline to the emotional tones held in the jams, shaking stable feelings from their tree.
Noticeably beefing up the percussion from their initial 2012 release, Summer Demo, Dave Paquette hammers his kit, a contained riot determined to knock down an inhibition or two, pace-setting each song fluidly, throttling and coasting with his mates. Serve the whole ensemble with room temperature Hamm’s, and you’re basically set.
Taste Dorian to sample Secret Lover’s choice of ingredients. Presumably an ode to a friend, lighthearted and heartfelt, Horowitz dives in plainly, coyly, “Dorian you changed your name, and you cut off all curls…” The band rides right in, as Horowitz continues through though the chorus and bridge, each take their turn embellishing a verse with a slight variation. The song builds to the refrain with Paquette rolling, Guida veering off to a half scale, and Paulson syncopating nastily, by the close a climax is reached in deep in harmony, a simple exercise in bliss.
Dorian by Secret Lover off of the The Lasso EP (2013)
Infectious, present and packing some serious performative powers Secret Lover resuscitates and revives those dark and mundane places that harbor rough beauty. Where a lot of music tries really hard to be something, they just are something, and they’re evolving rapidly. Secret Lover is touring, so if you’re not killing baby red pandas you should check them out. The Lasso is a 6-track EP available for download, and so is equally worthy Summer Demo.
Secret Lover, Unpop Art Show, Orcanine Abbey, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-1lU
(There’s a pretty nifty vid too)