Secret Colours – EP3

written by: January 20, 2012
Release Date: January 1, 2012


Secret Colours are still painting with the palette of the psychedelic sixties, and they make no apologies for not even nodding toward music from the last forty years. It’s true that there is a sonic similarity to nineties revivalists that led the caravan of light like Ride, Chapterhouse, The Jesus and Mary Chain and their descendents Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Crocodiles. However, their greatest debt is owed to the pastoral canvases painted by obscurities like The Creation and their Nuggets-y ilk and the stripped down sound of The Kinks (whose “Sunny Afternoon” is given a faithful rendition here).

On the none too creatively named Ep3, the Chicago sextet sashay through four originals and a Kinks cover, in a leisurely and minimalist manner. “Faust” begins the EP with an appropriately ominous guitar pulsing, then unleashes a groovy shoutarrific maelstrom akin to the recent work of fellow Velvet Underground inspired kin Black Angels. Highlight “Legends Of Love” begins with a compelling electric guitar interval and vibrates its way into a conga-driven backbeat laced mini-skirt wearing shindig– it could have well been a lost Stone Roses b-side. The slurred tenor vocals with the tinny effects reinforce the drugged-out, “I just woke up” feel of the shambling vampiness.  The lovely acoustic guitar-anchored “Carry My Soul,” crafts a trance-like vibe with its pulsing, repetitive keyboards.

There are two schools of thought with regard to covers. One maintains that there is no point of performing someone else’s song without bringing something new to it, whether it be a twist, like Johnny Cash doing a Nine Inch Nails song, or Chicago’s Tiger Bones mashing up a Harry Nilsson classic with a Joy Division song. The second school of thought maintains that a cover version should be a respectful homage, taking pains to duplicate the original as closely as possible. Secret Colours take the latter approach, but it works, sometimes wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve is the best route to take, and coming at the conclusion in the running order, it serves as a fitting coda. Having said that, there is an eerie similarity between “Sunny Afternoon” and the preceding track, “Carry My Soul,” so much so that one could play them back to back and play the “Separated At Birth?” game.

But if Secret Colours are not the most original ensemble, that’s kind of beside the point. There’s enough great music left to tap in the vein of sixties rock to keep the adrenalin and endorphins a’flowin’ for as long as the group can keep it together.  If there’s any other criticism to be applied to the palette of Secret Colours, it’s that they paint themselves into a corner with some very short songs and a short EP, but like the best short-form releases, it leaves the listener wanting more, and that’s certainly an unqualified success.

Click here to check out the music video for “Faust” from EP3:

Secret Colours –  EP3 tracklist:

  1. “Faust”
  2. “Legends Of Love”
  3. “Tender Pretender”
  4. “Carry My Soul”
  5. “Sunny Afternoon”