The Deal: Band's third full-length disc is first with new guitarist Phil Karnats.
The Good: The band may have a new guitar player, but its sound remains intact. I caught them at last year's Echo Project and to say I was impressed would be an understatement. That same energy and vibe is present throughout the new album. The songs are heavy on repetitive instrumentals, as were previous The Secret Machines tunes, but there's always a raw quality that gives it a less repetitious feel – an odd note here, a bit of feedback there. The music is reminiscent of early Pink Floyd – a little spacy and jammy at times, but maintaining its rock dignity (see the six-and-a-half-minute epic of "The Walls Are Starting to Crack"). The drum beat from "Last Believer, Drop Dead" reminded me a heck of a lot of The Whigs. Karnats may be new, but he fits right in. This one is as good as the previous efforts.
The Bad: A lot of the beats sound like they came straight from the band's debut, Now Here is Nowhere. "Underneath the Concrete" had a bit of an '80s vibe to it which I wasn't crazy about, but the song is less than four minutes long – I got over it. The disc clocks in at just under 48 minutes, but it's only eight tracks. But are those really complaints? Probably not.
The Verdict: Just like the live show – I want more. This one'll be in my CD player for a while.