As the year has progressed, several great singles and EPs have been released for which I have written reviews or should have written reviews. I’ve waited for many of these bands to go ahead and release new full length albums before offering my thoughts, but several have not yet materialized. So, over the next week or two, I hope to share my enthusiasm for some great singles that have come along during 2014 that I’ve neglected to share.
“Each Time” 7”
(Dreams Never End)
When bands began reforming after several years away, there were always prominent cries of “sellout” and a strange disdain cast upon them for giving their music another go. What about bands that never really drew a huge audience? What would be the explanation for a band reforming and enduring another possible round of being ignored, other than a pure love of the art? Of course, there have been so many bands that have reformed over the last fifteen years that it’s no longer even an issue, but what I find surprising, is that there have been a handful of bands that have not only recaptured their original spark, but surpassed it. For me, Secret Shine is one of those bands.
Secret Shine existed during the early 90s on the vaunted Sarah Records label, and I was familiar with them via the many excellent label compilations that I devoured back then. Secret Shine was about as “shoegaze” as that label ever got, and though they were intriguing to me, they never connected enough to get me to pursue their records. Yet, ever since their reformation back in 2006, they’ve been steadily improving and a band that I look forward to hearing from and will make every effort to secure their latest offerings. Their last album, The Beginningand the End, brought an urgency and passion that they had never showed before (and was my #5 pick for best album of the year!).
It’s been some time since that great album, but while they commence work on a new album, they have offered up a very nice single as a teaser. Luckily, this record is right on par with the best of their most recent work. The A-Side, “Each Time,” burns with desperation and that urgency that drove much of their last LP. They get compared a lot to Slowdive (also recently reformed) with their airy atmospheric sound derived from buzzing feedback, but that band never let loose with this kind of drive before - like having the beat go double time during the exciting chorus.
Over on the flip side, is the dreamier “Anything About Me,” a song that drifts along with a beautiful quiet melancholy and a rumbling beat, which builds the tension towards what looks like trouble ahead. The feeling of being marginalized and taken for granted in a relationship is explored in the sparest of words, but the simple repeated line “You don’t know / you don’t know / you don’t know / anything about me” gives us a strong clue as to what is happening.
If these two songs are a sign of what’s to come, the next Secret Shine album will be an incredible highlight of 2015.