Album Review: Longwave – Secrets Are Sinister

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The band’s party started in 1999. The train kept rolling, and Longwave continued to search for the spirit of radio. Here in 2008, we are proud to present Secrets Are Sinister – a beautiful blend of U2, Radiohead, Muse, and a dash of 80s memorabilia.

With progressive rock constantly being meshed into various genres, it’s a wonder we haven’t seen a country music concept album produced by Neil Peart. Progressive music has always had its signatures, one of which being an epic and natural flow within the chords themselves – resonating, churning, striving for originality with music some have said you could feel and touch.

The fluidity of acts like Radiohead never cease to amaze me, as they continually shift gears and try new things. We can’t say Longwave is doing something new, its members are doing something well. The album itself begins with “Sirens in the Deep Sea”, chiming in with organic tambourines and guitar before slamming on the epic switch with synth, distortion, and angelic vocals.  As the first verse begins, all noise quiets and you hear perfectly the song title itself – a wide ocean of sonic pleasure, with harmonized voices calling out to you.

Onto its abrupt halt of a conclusion, “No Direction” bears resemblance to The Killers’ Hot Fuss, with simple lyrics and over-drawn electronica mixed into Flock of Seagulls guitar; it’s prime for a hit single. Enter “Satellites”, which brings a U2 reference out lyrically, while marching beat drums and power chord introduction hearken images of ultimate disaster. Ironically, this song starts with bad news then gives you the hope that prayer might save you in the chorus, saying “Any colors that you dream about/ And any words that you tell yourself/ All turn into something else”, as you “Look for satellites.”

“The Devil and the Liar” is easily a stand-out favorite, with various noises interspersed into music and a blues-meets-The Cure string strummer.  Lyrics mention questioning what one expects in the afterlife, saying, “What you gonna do when your number goes?”  It’s a poppy-folk song with elements of the 80s stirred in; a charming albeit grim song certainly worth more listens in the future.

“Life Is Wrong” is musically the most unfortunate bystander in a list of outstanding songs, but with beautiful vocals echoing through the noise, it is hard to completely overlook.  Think of it like taking Chris Martin and dubbing his microphone over Nine Inch Nails’ “Hyperpower!” – some things just do not go together.

“Eyes Like Headlights” is a rhythmically fun track, with another marching beat to start off before what sounds like an electric violin chimes in. Totally marketable, while also totally Longwave, it therefore makes a perfect inclusion to this album, while “I Don’t Care” seems to be a bit of the same old same.  By the time one reaches “It’s True”, it should be obvious these boys are taking cues from UK new wave and progressive without a second thought – admirable without sounding like outright pond-crossing mimicry.

Secrets Are Sinister at its close holds the better and best – Snow Patrol-esque “Shining Hours” and the title track. “Shining Hours” is strangely one song I am extremely fond of, even after referencing one of my least favorite acts currently performing.  It seems like Longwave took its few best attributes without sounding preachy or overly-melancholy and transformed it into a likable track. “Secrets Are Sinister” becomes the prime closer, with true atmospherics, transcendental harmonies and absolutely wonderful rhythm and keyboards.

Clocking in at 3:22, “Secrets are Sinister” is the shortest song on the entire album. While this is a minor threat, it makes it the best song on Secrets Are Sinister, simply because Longwave chose to not drag out the final moments of a peaceful, dying man. instead, it made his last moments the best of a life well acted.

In summary, Secrets Are Sinister is a great progressive rock record by all accounts.

Check Out:
“Sirens In The Deep Sea”
“No Direction”