The Secret Machines Now Here Is Nowhere

[Reprise; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: indie rock, indie pop
Others: The Flaming Lips, The Walkmen, Trail Of Dead

The Secret Machines might not admit to this, but in some uncontrollable way, where they come from and where they're going have a direct influence on the music they create. Some of this influence may be conscious, but most arises subconsciously from an external source that's related either directly or indirectly to their musical output. Of course, location is one such factor. Originally from Dallas, Texas, the band has since moved to New York and has already started a career that most bands only dream about. After enthusiastic reviews of their live show and debut EP, September 000, The Secret Machines left people drooling for more.

Now, finally, we have The Secret Machines' debut album, Now Here Is Nowhere, perhaps one of the finest and completely enjoyable albums of 2004. Roughly described as a mix of Pink Floyd psychedelic and cutting-edge Neil Young aggressiveness with a touch of 80s anthem manifestations, The Secret Machines have polished and molded their sound in a uniquely satisfying way. Encompassing every musical approach and trend along their long journey from Dallas to NYC, The Secret Machines have assimilated several influential sounds and structures into their sound, creating a collection of utterly glorious songs.

The opening track, "First Wave Intact," is an eight-minute introduction to the influence of New York City's guitar noise brash. The song's drum sequence thumps ferociously while the guitar accompaniment chomps and resonates aggressively throughout the entire song. The downtempo Pink Floyd influence is apparent in "Leaves are Gone," a sad and seeping ballad filled with whispered vocals and gentle acoustics. The centerpiece and standout track of the record is "Nowhere Again," an uplifting power pop composition that's saturated with heavy hooks and toe tapping angst; a true modern day music masterpiece that contends with other influential New York bands, like The Walkmen or Liars.

The Secret Machines' ability to accept and adapt to their surroundings exemplify the growth and maturity of this admirable group of performers. Riveting from beginning to end, Now Here Is Nowhere is a delightful record filled with memorable and often astonishing songs, showcasing a young band that has set the foundation for one exciting future.

1. First wave intact
2. Sad and lonely
3. Leaves are gone
4. Nowhere again
5. Road leads where it leads
6. Pharoah's daughter
7. You are chains
8. Light's on
9. Now here is nowhere

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