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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Secretary Bird
Secretary Bird
In De Goot

Rating: 6/10 ?


April 18, 2007
Secretary Bird is a cute name for a band. I like cute names on bands, especially if the bands have good songs, for it is with good songs that, for some reason, the cute name makes so much more sense. Cute and good go hand in hand, as it were, depending on the genre of course. When I listened to Secretary Bird's self-titled debut the first time, I was pleasantly surprised, right off the bat.

The opening track, "Somewhere Girls," is shoegaze from beginning to end, and if you've ever been a fan of the genre's heavy-hitters, acts like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Lush amongst many, you'll recognize the characteristicly swimming drums and spacious guitars. Having set out on this foot, such is the path I expected the remainder of Secretary Bird to tread. I was, it turns out, gravely mistaken. The rest of the album's cuts are guitar-based pop songs, of the kinda sad, with tender man-vocals sort.

Don't get me wrong, Mike Semple has penned a batch of quaint little songs; I'm especially fond of "Cornerstore," which is one of those beautiful little pop songs that you hear once and hum for the rest of the day. But the bulk of the album makes "Somewhere Girls," which has more in common with Semple's former work in Friends of Dean Martinez, feel like a bit of a ruse. Secretary Bird is more an album full of guitar based pop songs than the distorted shoegaze noise of the opener would lead one to believe, and with that it is also a little disappointing. From the second track onward, it feels like I've heard this album a hundred times before.

Did I say disappointing? Well, I also feel unsatisfied. Even if the songs are good (and they are, in the blandest way), they just drown in the vast sea of sad guitar pop that surrounds us. The sound of the genre in which Semple currently docks his boat is so watered down that to really stand out Secretary Bird needs at least a few songs that make the listener sit up and say "Wow!". Unfortunately his first solo effort has only has one of those songs, the rest are just a handful of harmless pop songs.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg

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