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The Secret Machines - The Secret Machines

Released on TSM Records, 10/14/08

This is The Secret Machines’ third album and first without founding member and guitarist Benjamin Curtis. Curtis’ position is filled by Phil Karnats and, unfortunately, he seems to have come at a bad time. Ever since the group’s explosive 2004 debut, Now Here Is Nowhere, they have gone steadily downhill -- and The Secret Machines continues that trend. It’s frustrating because it’s obvious that the group has so much talent.

Their songs are just so dry and flat. It sounds as if they are trying to write Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” over and over, but with disastrous and forgettable results. Dropping Pink Floyd’s name in reference to The Secret Machines is nothing new, but the comparison is starting to wear thin -- mainly because these guys just can’t cut it.

The songs are boring, the production is flat and there’s nothing memorable about the record. The only interesting part is how “Underneath the Concrete” sounds like a Modern Guilt outtake, but only because it deviates from the space rock of the rest of the album. It builds upon simple chord changes, but they just can’t pull it off the way Pink Floyd did.

Their songs were, at their core, simplistic and full of atmosphere. Most importantly, they had soul. The Secret Machines seem to be lacking any soul -- like they’re just going through the motions. If they want to make any sort of impression, they are really going to need to step up their songwriting skills.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars