The Secret Machines, 'The Secret Machines' (TSM)

7
The Secret Machines
Critical Mass
Label: TSM

by Shannon Zimmerman

Leaving Reprise after two commercially inert, if artistically compelling, albums and losing guitarist Ben Curtis (who founded the group with brother Brandon), this Brooklyn-based trio return like Gary Numan on a hard-rock bender. Adding electronic gurgles to heavy, prog-rock power chords, The Secret Machines recalls Rush and Black Sabbath at one end of the sonic spectrum ("The Fire Is Waiting") and David Bowie's spazzier, punk-era edge at the other ("Atomic Heels"). In between those far-flung atmospheric poles, the band proves they're more than just the sum of their seamless influences, cranking out startling gems like "Last Believer, Drop Dead" and "Have I Run Out," which throb with noise-encrusted hooks.

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