Secret And Whisper
Teenage Fantasy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
April 7th, 2010 | 497 replies | 31,630 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Outstanding guitar-work highlights an exciting follow-up.

More often used when describing the closing moments of a nail-biting sporting contest or the thrilling climax to a suspenseful motion picture, the term “exciting” is not usually associated with music. Yet, exciting seems the most appropriate adjective to choose when attempting to explain the vibe given off by the fantastic one-two punch that kick-starts Secret and Whisper’s second album ‘Teenage Fantasy’. The blistering pace of opener ‘Youth Cats’ brilliantly showcases the outstanding dual guitar attack that expertly guides the song through effective tempo switches, while melodic lead single ‘Warrior (Southern Arrowwood)’ continues the momentum by deftly integrating some hard-rock influenced riffs into the intricate post-hardcore sound.

Much like on their debut LP ‘Great White Whale’, the Canadian outfit are thankfully far from being all about individual songs, producing yet another consistent and cohesive album. It appears clear that Secret and Whisper have found their sweet spot while recording ‘Teenage Fantasy’ and are dead set on consolidating that sound. This is an important hurdle to clear, since the band has come under fire from seemingly all directions in the past. Accused of sounding too much like Saosin, failing to nurture their experimental side and needing to write catchier hooks, the quintet are expressly focused here… Maybe too focused at stages, resulting in slightly less variety this time around. At 39 minutes in length however, this never becomes too significant an issue and turns out negligible as listeners become more familiar with each track.

Unquestionably the highlight of ‘Teenage Fantasy’ is the guitar-work on show. Reminiscent of Saosin’s critically acclaimed ‘Translating The Name’ EP and Thursday’s latest album ‘Common Existence’, it is difficult not to be drawn into the ethereal melodies that float through songs such as ‘Tiny Sparkle’, ‘Edge of Wilderness’ and ‘Star Blankets’. Penultimate track ‘Whale Bones’ makes it clear that Jason Ciolli and David Ecker are just as adept when the pace is slowed, while the shimmering effect on atmospheric closer ‘Silver Mountain’ is especially rewarding. Those looking for something a little more metallic sounding will be pleased with ‘Famous For A Century’, a track which also demonstrates how Secret and Whisper are functioning as a well-oiled machine here, with the rhythm section of Jordan Chase and Ryan Loerke more than capably fulfilling their roles.

Always a point of contention, lead vocalist Charles Furney is an acquired taste that will grate on some listeners. Owning a piercing voice, he has that uncanny quality of knowing when he is about to stumble into the territory of a high-pitched shrill, and paring his vocals back appropriately. Unfortunately, his renowned cryptic lyrics lack that sense of mystery and anticipation which made their debut so captivating. Furthermore, accusations of failing to capitalize on the opportunity for a killer vocal hook will continue to haunt the band, since moments such as the backing vocals of ‘Bedroom Galaxy’ and chorus of ‘Edge of Wilderness’ both could have used an anthemic sing-along. Other than the aforementioned opening duo, ‘Star Blankets’ comes the closest, with a chorus that accentuates the passion in Furney’s voice.

Ultimately, ‘Teenage Fantasy’ is unlikely to gain or lose too many fans for Secret and Whisper… Those who enjoyed ‘Great White Whale’ will undoubtedly be satisfied with this follow-up, while the cynics will also not be swayed. Marginally inferior to the debut LP, this may be less immediate due to a slight reduction in variety and catchiness, but its phenomenal guitar-work goes a long way to making up for those shortcomings. Immaculately produced, energetic and without filler, ‘Teenage Fantasy’ establishes Secret and Whisper as a force to be reckoned with on the post-hardcore scene… A band that has not only shaken their tags, but arguably surpassed them.

Recommended Tracks: Warrior (Southern Arrowwood), Star Blankets, Youth Cats & Whale Bones.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is one of those (admittedly rare) instances when a rating out of 10 would better differentiate 2 albums by the same band. I have rated both this & ‘Great White Whale’ as a 4, but their debut would have been an 8.5/10, while this is closer to a 7.5. In other words, on the Sputnik scale, this is 3.8 & ‘Great White Whale’ is a 4.2.

Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


OMG a Daveyboy review!


Really though, this sounds interesting.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

What... Don't I review enough nowadays?

I think you'd like these guys Michael... Although probably not as much as me. If they could just instil more catchiness.

Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


Nah, I was just thinking back to the "good" ol days of the Emery frolicking.


The acoustic version of Anchors is one of my favorite songs ever.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The "Emery frolicking" is a distant memory. Please let it remain that way. LOL.

I actually only heard the acoustic version of Anchors for the first time a month or so back. I couldn't believe how good it was & was a little surprised that wasn't the version used for 'GWWhale'.

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2010


15964 Comments


ah, I was just thinking back to the "good" ol days of the Emery frolicking.

Don't make me turn this car around!

Digging: Necropoli - I

Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


No, Willie, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!


Yeah, I love the acoustic version sooooo much better than the album version.

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2010


15964 Comments


Is this the band that used to operate under a different name? Am I even making sense?

Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


17212 Comments


I've been trying to get back in touch with this kind of stuff.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


Is this the band that used to operate under a different name? Am I even making sense?


Yeah, Saosin.

lolololololololol

Willie
Moderator
April 7th 2010


15964 Comments


Alright, I consulted wiki and it is… Stutterfly never did much for me so does that mean these guys won't either?

Edit: Damn it, we must have posted at the exact same time. Who the hell are Saosin?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Yeah, I love the acoustic version sooooo much better than the album version" My guess is that they thought it may have meant one too many slow songs on 'GWWhale'. To be honest, this album probably could have done with one more... Or at least separating the final 2 tracks.

"Is this the band that used to operate under a different name?" Yeah, sort of. The musicians were called Stutterfly, but changed their name when they switched singers.

"I've been trying to get back in touch with this kind of stuff." Good place to start I guess. There's enough of it around. Have I mentioned the most recent Emery album? LOL.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Who the hell are Saosin?" Now you're not making sense.

"Stutterfly never did much for me so does that mean these guys won't either?" Probably not Trey, although they have improved significantly musically. I doubt you'll like the vocalist though. Think Saosin... Oh, hang on a tick... How about Anthony Green from Circa Survive?


Athom
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


17212 Comments


guess I'll check this out.

Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


I prefer Of Machines to S&W, but this is good too.


And how have you not heard of Saosin?

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"guess I'll check this out." Start with their debut if you can.

"I prefer Of Machines to S&W, but this is good too." I don't. If this album lacks a little variety, Of Machines lacks a lot of variety.


Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


I just love that guy's voice a lot more than this.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I just love that guy's voice a lot more than this."

I seriously can't recall his voice. That can't be a good sign.


Emim
April 7th 2010


26621 Comments


He's got a piercing voice as well.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2010


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But does he have that "uncanny quality of knowing when he is about to stumble into the territory of a high-pitched shrill, and paring his vocals back appropriately."

Seriously, the main issue I had with that Of Machines LP was the overly glossy/slick production and next to no variety. It was a debut though, so hopefully they will improve.



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