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The Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere CD (album) cover

NOW HERE IS NOWHERE

The Secret Machines

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I saw their video on MTV2 for the song, "Nowhere Again". I was somewhat impressed. I got the CD for pratically nothing and was immediatel floored. Imagine a cross between the bluesy/spacey Pink Floyd crossed with The Flaming Lips ('First Wave Intact') and the art punk band Wire, (especially, "The Road Leads Where It's Lead'). Some combination, huh? It is very modern, but it also is very 70's krautrock. These guys from Texas USA also learn to use the guitar ala Brad Lanier who's band Medicine I also hear. Things look bright when young guys can broaden the spectrum using older prog bands as a template. (Mars Volta comes to mind, too.) I'm definately looking forward to some more stuff from these guys. Try them out. You may be surprised.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#53127)
Posted Monday, October 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars At 5:20 into the first track there is a moment when time stops. Didn't find it on first (or second) listen, but during one of those off hand moments during the everyday grind, it jumped back into my head - "THE REST IS THEFT". To me, this is the mark of a good album - when something jumps into your head, irresistable, memorable, and compelling. Pulling you back to listen again. This band have loads of prog hooks, spiced with a Krautrock groove and will be BIG. This is good stuff.

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Send comments to Billymac (BETA) | Report this review (#82334)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Have you notice that The Secret Machines are in progarchives?

When i noticed that, honestly i got surprised, but in the same time im glad of it, surprised because honestly i think The Secret Machines could be only another US band of the new wave of experimental/mainstream bands, and glad because i like them (in fact i only know this album), so that was my feeling , maybe some of you are not agree with it`s inclusion, or maybe you will say why are they here and not X band or something, not completely a prog band, but with hints of. I think they have a particular sound, i have noticed that bands like Pink Floyd, also David Bowie are some of their influences.

I have to confess something, i went to a U2 concert, and TSM opened it,i really enjoyed it, despite people didn`t want them, and after concert i heard bad comments, i was pleased with their half an hour of music.

So now after that little introduction, here is the review of this album called "Now Here is Nowhere".

"First Wave Intact" is the first and until now my favorite song, first of all because it was the first song that i knew of them, second because i saw it`s performance in that concert, i loved it, and third , when i listen to the album i still enjoying it a lot, that`s a long song with a repetitive sound, maybe you will hate that drums, but during the song you will hear clear sound and spacial effects which make it better, great guitars.

"Sad and Lonely" has a particular sound of all thta rock/experimental/mainstream/alternative rock bands, not bad at all, but not the best, maybe a weak point of the album because it follows that first great song, but not with the same originality, it has again good effects, but nothing more.

"The Leaves are Gone" is a great song, calmed and with a soft sound,we can notice a "peaceful" voice during the song, not completely a lullaby, but kind of, all the time the song has that slow tempo sound, if you dont likee the first songs, maybe you will sleep with this, but IMO is a nice song.

"Nowhere Again" is i think the most well knon song, i have heard it also in local radio stations, so you might say it is the poppiest or something, and could be, but i like it, nothing new to show, good guitars the same tune all the song, backing vocals something, again guitar making some noises, good, but as i said, nothing new, this is the classic song that you will sing.

"The Road Leads Where It`s Lead" is just another song, maybe if you like alternative rock you will remember a bit of Smashing Pumpkins and Billy`s voice, the nice thing here are again that sound effects.

"Pharao`s Daughter" has a pretty similar rythm and sound, maybe is softer, and slower, but in the chorus you will find an almost same sound, i like it, but again, nothing new to show us.

"You Are Chains" is a beaufitul song!, i like it so much, the melancoholic mood and sound envolved me every time i listen to it, musically i think it`s not the best, but of course it is one of my favorites here,also it reminds me again to Pumpkins and The Smiths in it`s melancoholic passages, but also it changes to a louder and more powerful suddenly, again with some effects who could be described as spacial.

"Light`s On" is the shortest song here, something like a prelude to the last song, again repetitive and with similar style.

"Now Here is Nowhere" , one thing that i like of the album is that the first and the last song are the largest of the album, this song is like a repries of the fourth song, but larger and with some good changes and experimentation, here is when the album finishes.

After all, i can say that i like this album, talking about progressive rock, it`s impossible to give it 5 stars, because it has only few passages that you could consider as prog, in some ways is repetitive, but the repetition makes it enjoyable, for all that reason and figuring it`s pros and cons, i will give it 3 stars, because it`s good, but non-essential.

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#82610)
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is yet another 21st century band that seems to have managed to create a blend of retro and modern sounds that is quite appealing. In their case the retro part pretty much consists of quite a few pretty obvious influences – Bowie (circa Scary Monsters), Smashing Pumpkins, maybe a little Dave Gilmour on some of the slower numbers (“Leaves Are Gone”, “Pharaoh’s Daughter”). The modern part comes from taking what on the surface appear to be simply pop lyrics and guitar riffs (perhaps a bit edgy, but really not progressive or even psychedelic in the tradition sense) and creating arrangements that for the most part are quite ear-grabbing.

Nowhere is Nowhere is the band’s first full-length album, and features largely drums, guitar, and bass, although there are some synthesized sound effects thrown in. The band shows some clear signs of growing pains while evolving a style. This is particularly evident in the arrangement of the tracks which doesn’t follow any kind of discernable pattern, and in the tendency on the latter half of the album to bring some songs to a close before they seem to actually be finished (“Light’s On”, “Nowhere Again”).

And there are a few misses, to be sure. “Leaves Are Gone” is an eerie, brooding work very much in the vein of Pink Floyd’s the Wall and the Final Cut (“Your Possible Pasts”, “One of My Turns”), only without the obligatory guitar/drum explosion somewhere in the middle. This is either a song about the end of a summer romance, or suicide, not really sure. Maybe both. Anyway, the guitar is much too Gilmour, the vocals way too self- indulgent, and the overall effect leaves me slightly bored. Also I find it a bit annoying that a guy from Texas now living an artist’s life in New York is trying to affect a vague British accent. That really needs to go.

But the band seems to have a knack for crafting somewhat lengthy tracks that blend progressive rhythms and arrangements with sometimes grunge lyrics, and piles of the finest white-noise guitar feedback I’ve heard it years.

The best track is probably the opening one. “First Wave Intact” starts off with a a stark beat and kind of an interesting guitar riff. The riff gets worked a bit too much, almost as if the guys are pretty proud of what they’ve come up with and want to make sure we all know how clever they are. I actually started to get a bit bored by around the six- minute mark or so the first time I heard this. But the last two or three minutes erupt in a really intense blend of guitar white-noise, cymbal-heavy spastic drumming, and some sort of non-descript keyboards that blend with that intangible sense of rhythm that only the best bands of that style can muster. If the band could have gotten to that point a bit sooner this would be pretty close to a five-star song.

“Sad and Lonely” has a better blend of tempos and sounds than the opening track. This does tiptoe into psychedelic territory at times, but manages to maintain a very catchy rhythm due largely to some fine work on bass.

Another track where the singer seems to be trying to turn British is “Nowhere Again”. This sounds like so many post-punk bands that came out of the mid 80s with rather vapid lyrics and unoriginal drums and bass, but here again the guitarist does a great job of finding the balance between noise for the sake of noise, and a decent sense of rhythm. The ending is kind of abrupt though.

“You Are Chains” is another track that works its way into feedback territory, but also includes a very appealing piano accompaniment, and some psychedelic-leaning synthesizer that adds a bit to the mood. This sounds like a path the band needs to explore further as it leverages their edginess with a more robust sound that will give them more options in the studio.

“Light’s On” is another decent track highlighted by the excellent guitar work, and limited a bit by the modest vocals. Here again the ending is kind of abrupt.

This is a very early effort by a band that seems to have quite a bit of promise. I actually liked the album quite a bit, even after initially thinking it was pretty forgettable. The guitarist has a great knack for rich and powerful sounds, his vocals are also pretty good. The drummer is passable but not outstanding – more emphasis on keyboards will hopefully deemphasize his shortcomings. The bassist is solid at times and seems to be lost at others. Overall this is a good first effort. I need to pick up their new Ten Silver Drops CD and see how they are maturing, but I get the impression these guys are serious and that they are going to be a solid force in the genre for a while to come. Three stars.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#84523)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Quite a buzz about this 3 piece band and especially this album when it came out. Many touting it as a Psychedelic / Krautrock throwback. Not even close, but i did really enjoy the first and last songs(yeah leave it to the prog guy to like the 2 longest tracks) but i just couldn't get into this record like I thought I would.The lyrics do little to impress.The album cover though is very memorable.

"First Wave Intact" has a heavy beat with vocals after 1 1/2 minutes. I like the organ a minute later. Guitar comes and goes. Quite the chaotic ending. "Sad And Lonely" sounds great but the vocals kind of dampen the enthusiasm I had for it. "The Leaves Are Gone" opens with organ as soft vocals come in. It starts to build 2 1/2 minutes in then settles again. Very mellow.

"Nowhere Again" opens with piano and an uptempo beat. Vocals join in this poppy tune. It's fun anyway. "The Road Leads Where It's Led" is psychedelic to open before a beat with vocals takes over. Catchy track. "Pharoah's Daughter" features vocal melodies and a spacey mood. Almost spoken vocals come in. "You Are Chains" is again psychedelic sounding as slowly sung vocals arrive. Piano is also slowly played. The song kicks in before 3 minutes then settles to a spacey atmosphere. "Light's On" has some energy and a good beat. I like it. "Now Here Is Nowhere" is spacey to open as vocals come in softly. It kicks in before 3 minutes with a catchy beat. I like the spacey vibe and vocals that join in.

3 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#88819)
Posted Saturday, September 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars It was a BIG regret for me to purchase this album which was considered excellent by one of prog sites. I did purchase the album because of that excellent review by the site. What happened when I received the CD and spun it for the first time? It was really terrible album not only in the eyes of progressive music. In fact, even under the category of rock, this is not a good one to have. Most of compositions are so boring especially with lack of melodies, harmonies and repetition of many musical parts (riffs, chords, etc.). Sorry I just cannot consider how people can view this as a bad album. It's so boring. I did try to have couple of spins but still I could not grab the good parts of this album.

I cannot bear with the music which lacks melody, cumbersome repetition of chords, mundane vocal job. Overall, nothing is so special about this album. I do not recommend any of you purchase this CD.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#121034)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars the Secret Machines are an exciting band, they offer very old-school psychadelic songs with excellent album organization.

I enjoy every track on this album, except for Nowhere Again, probobly because i've heard it so many times. The opening track, First Wave Intact, is shockingly powerful. The drumbeat is timeless and when the vocals start you know you're in for an excellent treat.

Sad and Lonely reminds me of some ballads from the 70's, definately in a good way, i love this track!!

The Leaves Are Gone is a trippy keyboard buzz with some excellent headphone effects

Nowhere Again, to me, is a boring song with little to offer, but their musicianship is acceptable, thats what makes the Secret Machine so listenable, their music is well constructed and their songs are written with care and thought.

The Road Leads Where Its At is another one of my favorites, the passionate vocals are haunting and it seems to go by in seconds.

Pharaoh's Daughter is another great track, its a bit slower than some of the other songs, but it builds into a piece of bliss straight from sonic/electronic heaven.

You Are Chains is another track that builds up slowly (and builds on you with repeated listens.)

Lights on and Now Here is Nowhere are two great tracks that pick up the pace and supply the ears with smooth guitar playing, emotional lyrics, and effects to boot!!

Pleasantly surprsing, Now Here is Nowhere is an excellent album that opens the curtains to a band with a big future.

(and Ten Silver Drops knocks the Secret Machines out of the park, its an amazing sophomore album)

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Send comments to therevelator (BETA) | Report this review (#142140)
Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permalink

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