Secret And Whisper

Teenage Fantasy

Written by: TL on 13/04/2010 23:02:25

While years of reviewing have by now turned a once wide-eyed music fan into a jaded old bastard, who becomes more and more apathetic for each day that passes, towards bands he used to adore, there are some records still very much looking forward to. Enter "Teenage Fantasy" by Secret & Whisper, the (by me at least) long awaited follow-up to 2008's fantastic début LP "Great White Whale", which announced Secret And Whisper as a band ready to pick up an awesome style of music, which Saosin was beginning to show the first signs of not being able to carry on. Back then, the sound was like an explosion of awesomeness in our ears, but by now, two years have passed, and critical tongues have questioned if S&W could manage to stay relevant in the much (d)evolved post-hardcore scene of 2010.

It takes opener "Youth Cats" some thirty seconds to hammer such questions into the dirt, with an opening riff the likes of which have not been heard since Saosin - to whom S&W must inevitably suffer many comparisons - were on the top of their game. I dare say it's the kind of song that packs such a mighty punch, as to make you want to get on your feet and rip shit up, right from the very first time you see it, and soon it becomes clear, that even though Secret & Whisper haven't changed much soundwise, they are endlessly more potent than before, and they flat out trample any of the high-pitch-fronted post-hardcore bands that have struggled for Saosin's kingdom since they relinquished their grip of power on the scenesters. Proof? Listen to the battering that spearheads single "Warrior (Southern Arrowwood)" and to the gut-wrenching solo it provides. You know how some songs have you wondering for a while if they are really better than just good? These two openers are not those kinds of songs. Nor is "Bedroom Galaxy", which continues in a similar manner, only boasting an even more recognizable chorus than the two prior numbers.

Like I touched upon earlier, Secret And Whisper haven't exactly changed a great deal. The name of the game is still to overwhelm the listener with sparkling, hyper-melodic notes, the majority of which comes from the lower part of the guitar neck, backed by an eerie ambiance and fronted by sky-high cries from the stellar voice of Charles Finn (also known as Anthony Green the 2nd?). Still though, improvement is noticeable, especially due to the production, as the sound is simply much much more dense and unrelenting than it was on "Great White Whale".

After opening strongly with three tracks of overpowering, no-nonsense awesomeness, fortunately (for the sake of variety) the album starts mixing things up a bit, taking the foot off the gas pedal more often, and allowing tranquil moments more room to breathe in many songs, yet, just as it was the case with the previous album, memorable hooks are still easily found, for instance in songs like "Tiny Sparkle" and "Edge Of Wilderness", the quiet refrain of which is especially likely to stick with the listener. Of the remaining tracks, none can be called bad, on the contrary, "Star Blankets" is almost tear-jerkingly good, and in honest, there are only a few conclusions it should be possible to reach when listening to this album: First, if some songs on it seem lacklustre, it is only in comparison to its own best cuts, because when you think about it, the least memorable songs on here, still stand heads and shoulders above what most post-hardcore outfits are churning out these days. And second, if you've been having a hard time getting into those very same somethingcore upstarts of late, then it's probably because a band like this have been around since 2008, and are still up to the challenge of making awesomeness in 2010. What happens to even the legendary Saosin seems irrelevant when this comes through your speakers. Excellent.

9

Download: Youth Cats, Bedroom Galaxy, Edge Of The Wilderness, Warrior (Southern Arrowwood), Star Blankets
For The Fans Of: Saosin, Circa Survive, Flood Of Red,
Listen: myspace.com/secretandwhisper

Release Date 06.04.2010
Tooth And Nail Records

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