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Secrets Are Sinister

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Album Review

With only a few hints left of their artsy shoegazer-inspired past, Secrets Are Sinister sees Longwave continuing in the U2 by way of Snow Patrol vein of 2005's There's a Fire and aiming directly for radio acceptance, this time without major label backing. This seeming grab for commercial acceptance may be paying off, as "The Devil and the Liar"'s shimmering instrumental opening soundtracks a Lubriderm commercial. Musically, the song is a dead ringer for their peers Rogue Wave and likewise owes quite a debt to Death Cab for Cutie. It's good that there are frequent tonal shifts between tracks, between moody rockers and melancholic ballads, but the influences on display are obvious, particularly when the results feel like above-average knockoffs of Gary Lightbody's Snow Patrol juggernaut. Secrets Are Sinister is well crafted, and producer Peter Katis does provide some great dynamics. There's also occasional emotional pull when vocalist Steve Schiltz — who seems to be doing his best hybridization of Interpol's Paul Banks and James Mercer of the Shins — goes falsetto and Katis buries that falsetto in a wall of sound, as on "Life Is Wrong," which could easily soundtrack one of the coming-attraction commercials on HBO or Showtime or a scene in a CW show. The title track is a nice, slow affair, and a lot of studio work obviously went into the dynamics of the album, although Secrets Are Sinister would be improved if the songs were more memorable.

Customer Reviews

Secrets are sinister, so don't let this masterpiece remain one

Dropped by major label RCA soon after the release of commercial flop There’s A Fire and deprived of yet another bassist and drummer Longwave seemed certain to split up. Band mainstays Steve Schiltz and Shannon Ferguson had other projects, with Schiltz in particular fulfilling a lucrative position as a member of Albert Hammond, Jr.’s live band. Thankfully, they never lost sight of how much Longwave still had to offer and so rounded up new members Jason Molina and Morgan King and proceeded to record the new album with occasional aid from producer Peter Katis, shortly afterwards signing with indie label Original Sound Recordings. I guess sometimes there is justice in the music industry after all, as this dedication to the cause has unveiled a perfectly formed and flawless return. Secrets Are Sinister may be just shy of 40 minutes yet its one of the most sprawling, epic albums these ears have heard and undoubtedly the best album of this bands career. From the moment the sleigh-bells ring on “Sirens In The Deep Sea” everything maintains a resounding emotional throb. Schiltz’s unassuming plaintive lyricisms are hardly scholarly pieces of literature but they soar as grand statements and when delivered with that cracked sigh they can be devastating, the weight with which he sings the refrain “At least you know that it’s true” is unbearably sad. When Schiltz isn’t singing, his and Ferguson’s guitars are as equally affecting. Through a myriad of impressive riffs and solos, loaded with effects, distortion and feedback every song is draped with atmosphere and breathless excitement. The addition of Molina’s freakishly fast drumming and King’s obtrusive, guttural bass mark this as the most definitive incarnation of the band yet, their efforts combining to turn “Satellites” and “Eyes Like Headlights” into deafening maelstroms. For the love of God, hopefully this line-up remains intact. I honestly can’t recommend this album enough, I could go on and on praising it. Like how the glacial, chilling echoes of “I Don’t Dare” mutate in a disco romp halfway through or how the title track makes an oddly ace Christmas tune, but more than anything I’m just relieved that Secrets Are Sinister was recorded and released. Hope is still alive, this is its soundtrack.

Wonderful Noise

I hadn't heard of this band before finding this, but after listening to the first song alone I was hooked. Trust me... this album is epic in every sense of the word. Almost every song on here is a stadium-sized barrage of sound that manages to avoid becoming random, obtrusive noise and becomes something far more enjoyable. Emotional from the get go and powerful from the moment "Sirens in the Deep Sea" kicks into gear, it's an incredible achievement and one I cannot believe has taken me so long to find. Buy it, put your earphones in, turn up the volume and let yourself drown in this sea of sound. It's wonderful.

Secrets are sinister

Although the songs have depth, great vocals and beautiful chord changes around equal lovely bass riffs i do feel the production of the album does not do the great songs justice.


Formed: 1999 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Taking influence from shoegaze pioneers and post-punk icons, Longwave got their start in 1999 when Steve Schiltz (vocals/guitar), Shannon Ferguson (guitar), Dave Marchese (bass), and Mike James (drums) congregated in a small New York studio to record demo material. Gigs in Lower Manhattan sharpened the group's sound, which melded sweeping melodies with touches of space rock, and Longwave soon caught the eye of local club owner Rob Sacher. The quartet then became the house band at Sacher's own establishment,...
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Secrets Are Sinister, Longwave
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Customer Ratings