Review Summary: Shallow post hardcore comfort food.Everything That Got Us Here
would have a difficult time finding a worse way to kick itself off. The simply titled “Intro” is nothing more than a thirty second clip of Secrets’ lead vocalist Richard Rogers…in a cappella form. “Roadblock” would be a generous descriptor for the car crash that opens the San Diego post hardcore outfit’s third record. Most remarkably of all, is how quickly the band shifts gears and forgets they did it at all. Follow up track “Rise Up” is about a mile or three closer to the band’s roots. It’s simultaneously a relief to see them abandon it quickly, and awkward to see such a perplexing one-off chosen to open a record. Make no mistake, however, Everything That Got Us Here
is a blatant simplification in sound for Secrets, and one that doesn’t exactly pay off for either the listener or the band.
Secrets’ debut album wasn’t much of a splash in the metalcore/post hardcore pool, but the follow up, Fragile Figures
, was much more potent in its delivery. Featuring improved songwriting, enhanced dynamics, and more memorable tracks, the album actually made Secrets worth hearing. One of the key components of Fragile Figures
was Rogers’ vocals, sporting a smooth tone and hooks aplenty. On Everything That Got Us Here
it seems obvious that Secrets realized the weapon they had in Rogers and pushed him to the forefront. However, in the process they seem to have traded every one of their other armaments. Anything that isn’t a hooky chorus seems more like an afterthought, devoid of memorability or creativity. Granted, the choruses are certainly hooky enough. Rogers seems to have only gotten better since Fragile Figures
, but everything else is overshadowed by him. New harsh vocalist Wade Walters might as well not be there at all, offering competent screams that mostly pop in to contrast absently with Rogers croon and then disappear. Furthermore, the album starts to feel like a retread of Fragile Figures
minus most of its good qualities (especially with the nearly identical acoustic closing track). With a band on autopilot for roughly half of every given track, there’s not a lot of meat to back up the sugary hooks. In essence, Everything That Got Us Here
is admittedly amusing post hardcore comfort food, but nothing more.