Secret Band
Secret Band


3.0
good

Review

by Mall USER (42 Reviews)
January 1st, 2015 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: man you'll feel like a million fucking bucks

Jon Mess has always been the weak link behind Dance Gavin Dance. From his rather innocuous contributions to the band’s early material to the ear-grating shrieks on Downtown Battle Mountain II, he’s always been a sort of appendix to the band’s math-pop hybrids, ranting at times almost schizophrenically over the riff onslaughts the band churns out and never really applying his lyrics in an appealing way to the music itself. Of course, it’s a blessing that he doesn’t resort to monster growls or pterodactyl shrieks like so many of his Rise Records peers, and thanks to his solo work it’s become obvious that his true strengths do not lie within the DGD ranks.

Secret Band, a project that in essence encompasses all the brilliant things about Dance Gavin Dance while avoiding the constant warring between band members by ditching clean singers entirely, is Mess’ most musically appealing output. The self-titled EP of 2011 saw some of Will Swans best riffs to date form spidery webs of post-hardcore DNA, absolutely begging for a competent vocalist to take advantage. And Mess for once did, exerting himself in unseen ways with gravelly bellows accompanying his usual sarcastic bombast and making for great hooks that didn’t need a warbling Craig or Travis vocal to be memorable. Instrumentally the all too brief release saw the typical funky basslines and groovy guitar licks of the average DGD song, amplified to epic levels with a new approach to atmosphere that really sounded like the culmination of many years hard work.

With Acceptance Speech recently under his belt, Mess and the rest of the band needed an escape from the Pearson-led madness through another Secret Band release. Starting as an outlet from a more commercially successful outfit, the success of the five piece’s debut meant they really had to rise to the challenge. And for the most part, they did. The lyrics, which were by no means tame before, really spiral into absolute depravity here. ‘Meat Fetish’, for one, rivals the inanity of DMBII without as much sickeningly sweet R&B influence, while ‘Ladders’ embraces the glorious immaturity of Happiness in a much more earthy tone, forsaking any trace of pop in favour of ominous breakdowns and garbled vocalisations. But there is a feeling of more concise, straightforward songwriting here. ‘Wasted Youth’ almost sounds like typical post-2005 metalcore as Mess trades vocals with Fight Fair vocalist Alex Bigman over clean, sharpened riffs before ascending into a flourish of technicality that could really only be pulled off by someone as talented as Swan.

Admittedly, this record does sound a lot more like DGD than its predecessor. Maybe it’s the self-titled era vocal characterisations being far more common, or the increase in wacky gang shouts, but this almost feels like a re-tread of older material in a few places. Most notably, ‘Biblee’ evokes Downtown Battle Mountain II, and almost feels like a throwaway from said record as Craig’s buttery vocals could slide in nicely amidst the more melodic guitar playing of Zachary Garren (who ironically did not feature on that album). However, ‘melodic’ is not a word that could easily be applied to the majority of this album. Mess’ imprint is all over this record, and while the band sound exactly like they should in such a scenario, his domination influence at times drives them to play less focused, more intentionally bizarre material i.e. ‘Honey Boo Buscemi’. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dollop of his trademark zest, but it’s often at the expense of the albums cohesion and that is where the band slip up.

Overall, this better than any project living in the shadow of DGD has any right to be, evoking the band’s best material often and only occasionally slipping into self-plagiarism. Sadly, the latter half of the record offers up far fewer highlights, and the dip in overall quality really harms its consistency. Far from a poor effort, this deserves to stand up against any of the recent DGD material, and displays invigorated sounding Mess at his full potential, unafraid of experimentation and almost never playing it safe. The result? Fun, but only in small doses.



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user ratings (340)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
paradox1216 EMERITUS (4)
Secret Band is a side project that flawlessly performs its purpose....

Slut (5)
"Inside I approgate dip, wection frip, it’s sobuhdayo, the gose tun the bae dun swip"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tunaboy45
January 1st 2015


16788 Comments


Well you just ruined the secret.

Sweet review though Mall, pos.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
January 1st 2015


6738 Comments


"Jon Mess has always been the weak link behind Dance Gavin Dance"
oh boy



Son of Mr. Pain
January 1st 2015


24884 Comments


Great review. Pos.

"Sadly, the latter half of the record offers up far fewer highlights, and the dip in overall quality really harms its consistency."

Disagree hard. The last three songs are easily my favorite.

"Fun, but only in small doses."

This is true though.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2015


14566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Most notably, ‘Biblee’ evokes Downtown Battle Mountain II, and almost feels like a throwaway from said record as Craig’s buttery vocals could slide in nicely amidst the more melodic guitar playing of Zachary Garren (who ironically did not feature on that album)"



funny you should think that mall, as im pretty sure zach garren did contribute guitar work on that song haha. ive read it in multiple places, i think once from him its probs on his twitter,instagram or reddit i dont remember



also excellent review, really enjoyed the read

Digging: The Chameleons - Script of the Bridge

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2015


14566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

id say delete the believer has a pretty strong dbm2 feel aswell

BigPleb
January 1st 2015


59863 Comments


Album is terrible just like DGD.

Good rev, tho.

OwMySnauze
January 1st 2015


2024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well written? Yes. Content of opinion? Unbearable

Slut
January 1st 2015


4255 Comments


Jon Mess has always been the weak link behind Dance Gavin Dance.Jon Mess has always been the weak link behind Dance Gavin DanceJon Mess has always been the weak link behind Dance Gavin Dance.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2015


14566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i know slut just try and pretend thats not his opening sentence or that he even believes it

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
January 1st 2015


14566 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

*hisses*

BMDrummer
January 1st 2015


14645 Comments


why do you write so many reviews in the 2.5-3 range

BMDrummer
January 1st 2015


14645 Comments


lol

Slut
January 1st 2015


4255 Comments


*hisses at mall*

Artuma
January 2nd 2015


31236 Comments


sweet review bro, pos'd

haven't heard this but i hate dgd so

Digging: Seizures - Reverie of the Revolving Diamond



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