Considering that the title of this album has “dance” in it, I was expecting something completely different than the emo-rock that was provided by Secret Lives of the Freemasons. This is not to say that I was disappointed; rather, it was doubly shocking (first, that it wasn’t a dance-punk type of band and second, that “Make Like A Door and Shut Up” was so damn good.) Even if some of the earliest emo albums that I had heard this year (The Chemnistry and A Static Lullaby) were disappointing, I really think that 2005 might be the renaissance of emo bands, especially when there are bands like Secret Lives of the Freemasons, The Rocket Summer, Bosio, and Zero To Sixty Never are creating fresh disc and new ways at looking at the genre. Another testament to the talent of Secret Lives comes during “Glazed Over Eyes Never Lie”, which is able to keep the listening public’s interest in a strung-out opening, which seems very disjointed but is in reality a Machiavellian ploy to level the listeners with a brash style of metal during the middle part of the track. Beginning off the second part of the disc, “This Was Built To Make You Dance” is a track that recaptures the glory of the earliest part of the CD, with Secret Lives placing down anti-septic guitar lines that really show their talent as a band (With naught a bit of sloppiness to be found) as well as another compelling set of vocals from Brien.
The low-key follow-up to “Dance” “If It Weren’t For Pickpockets…” still comes into its own even if the track feels like it will be anemic at the onset. Using a sort of echo to make eir voice even more present, “And Then A Hurricane” is able to keep listener’s spirits from flagging, bolsters themselves with a heavy use of the double bass and an innovative chunk of guitar riffs. While there are minor dips in the quality of “Dance”, the fact here is that Secret Lives of the Freemasons have constructed a solid and vibrant disc for their debut with Geoff Rickley’s (Thursday) Astro Magnetics label. This isn’t the typical play for radio, but rather a band making the style of music they want and damn the listeners if they don’t like it. This philosophy manifests itself with a commitment to their style of music that is never found on failures in this genre (the aforementioned Chemistry and A Static Lullaby).
Top Tracks: I Found The Broad (and the Broad Won), Glazed Over Eyes Never Lie
Secret Lives of the Freemasons – This Was Built to Make You Dance / 2005 Astro Magnetics / http://www.purevolume.com/secretlivesofthefreemasons/ http://www.astromagnetics.com / Reviewed 30 April 2005