- Secret Machines
Trend-watching in rock is a lot like watching Wimbledon: Microfashions whip back and forth just fast enough to observe, and for the past six years or so, the championship match has been played between pop and sprawl. After a few seasons of dart-sharp post-punk taking prog in straight sets, the tide may have turned; Secret Machines may steal back the crown for sprawl.
The secret to the machine, revealed on its recently released second album, Now Here Is Nowhere, is that as well as waging a baseline game of whizzing keyboards and crescendoing guitars, the New Yorkers are also devilishly good at playing close to the net, beating the Strokes and neo-Strokes at their own game: Tracks such as "Light's On" and "The Road Leads Where It's Led" volley laser-driven drumbeats and razored hooks that come as a shocking delight amid all the psychedelic dazzle. Live, as the band sets the soundboard to epic, Secret Machines owns the court completely.