One of the most exciting bands of the 2000’s for me, Secret Machines, have released a new single ‘Talos’ Corpse’ and announced a new album after a long hiatus.
‘Talos’ Corpse’ indicates a complete return to form – pounding drums and rousing choruses with complexity and vibrancy. Singer Brandon Curtis’s voice is distinctive – deep, urgent and enigmatic. There is an ethereal edge to the song – a vaulting anthemic sound soaked in melancholy and yearning:
What a fantastic return.
It has been twelve long years since Secret Machines have released any music and it is great to hear that the band is back with a new album, ‘Awake in the Brain’, due out in August. Sadly, during this period away, founding member Benjamin Curtis (who had left the band after their second album), died from cancer. Benjamin Curtis founded Secret Machines with his brother Brandon Curtis and drummer Josh Garza, and released the epic album ‘Now Here is Nowhere’ in 2004 – a phenomenal, thundering debut that attracted global attention.
The follow-up, ‘Ten Silver Drops’ upped the ante – attracting the support from David Bowie amongst others, but after the departure of Benjamin Curtis and the release of a self titled third album, Brandon Curtis and Garza drifted apart, with Curtis playing keyboards with Interpol for many years.
According to Garza, when attending a performance by Brandon Curtis,
Brandon invited me on stage to do a Secret Machines song, and that was the moment that we broke the ice, after drifting from each other for years. We’ve always remained friends, but we needed that moment to spark everything again.
Of the interceding time and the short memory in music, Garza notes:
Since we made this record ourselves, and are releasing it ourselves, there’s a certain feeling that we’re just doing our thing. It’d be nice if the fans give it a chance. We’re not trying to convince people with this record. Like I said, we’re just doing our thing.
For me, Secret Machines were always an important and creative force in the music industry and were sorely missed. Seemingly a return to prog rock with long extended songs – the band preferred the term space rock – Secret Machines had developed a unique sound – part synth, part metal but lyrical and melodic. Check out one of my favourite tracks from their debut:
The new album is highly anticipated – it contains material the late Benjamin Curtis had recorded and collects years of growth and loss. Brandon Curtis says:
Ten years ago, I was very depressed, sad, and lonely. I still relate to the songs I wrote in 2010, but I don’t feel that sense of hopelessness anymore. After losing my best friend, brother, and collaborator, I was able to say, ‘This is what true loss feels like.’
You can preorder the album here.
Awake in the Brain Chamber’ is performed by Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis and Josh Garza, featuring musicians Benjamin Curtis, Chris Kyle, Brian Bisordi and Sarah Pedinotti. Songs were mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer and mastered by Joe Lambert. Original album artwork by Danny Scales.
Feature Photograph: Lindsey Byrnes