Any band that channels the orchestral psychedelia of Pink Floyd is befitting a cosmic laser show as opposed to merely the iTunes visualizer. The Secret Machines’ sophomoric piece, Ten Silver Drops, is a sweeping symphony of intricate, story-line lyrics, piano, synthesizers, and clamorous drums. Singer Brandon Curtis’s velvety voice further enhances the album with a haunting melancholy air in uncanny resemblance to Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan.A combination of new wave, psychedelia and lyrics inspired by isolation and personal relationships gone awry, Ten Silver Drops is ambitious in its pursuit of poetic beauty. Opening track “Alone, Jealous and Stoned” leaves no delusions as to where the album is headed. Soft piano and synths that crescendo into a joyous bridge are beautifully contrasted with the heartbreaking lyrics, “Fighting off heavy eyes/Still thinking you would call/Echoing words, voices, thoughts/Remembering what you forgot.” Standout tracks “Lightening Blue Eyes,” “I Want to Know,” and “1,000 Seconds” continue this trend.
The New York three-piece, featuring brothers Brandon and Ben Curtis on bass and guitar respectively with drummer Josh Garza, manage to showcase eight songs that not only defy the long standing three minute rule, but pull off a sound that appears to be calculated in its orchestral complexity which inevitably comes crashing down in experimental chaos. Four minutes into “I Hate Pretending,” the Machines lose control of their instruments for an improvised finish on par with The Doors in “The End.”
The Secret Machines undoubtedly push the musical integrity of indie rock, but with songs exceeding eight minutes and sans catchy choruses, it’s unfortunate that the fruits of their labor will be confined to the dorm rooms of stoners.