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Secret Machines

Ten Silver Drops (Reprise)

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Self-proclaimed fan David Bowie explored the duality of emotion in "Rebel Rebel" and "Young Americans"; heirs apparent Secret Machines now appropriate that theme for their second full-length. Ten Silver Drops' eight tracks drip with the New York trio's trademark psychedelia: trippy, distorted guitar work à la Pink Floyd, bolstered by propelling rhythms and soaring vocals.

But while 2004's Now Here Is Nowhere strove for big-rock bombast, Drops celebrates a sense of empowerment gleaned only in solitude. "Sitting at home, what am I doing?/Boy waiting by the phone/Alone, jealous, and stoned," Ben Curtis sighs plaintively at the album's opening, embracing his role as doormat. On "All at Once (It's Not Important)," he continues to distance himself from a loved one: "Remember back when we first met/It don't mean much." If not exactly ebullient, the mood throughout the somberly titled "Daddy's in the Doldrums," "I Hate Pretending," and "Faded Lines" remains serene. Now that the band has found a compelling emotional center, it's well on its way to creating a catalog that's just as timeless.

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