Awake in The Brain Chamber by Secret Machines

Release date: August 21, 2020
Label: TSM Recordings

Just when they were starting to confirm their role as one of the more innovative prog-pop (if there is such a sub-genre) bands of the modern era, Secret Machines suddenly disappeared, not to be heard of for over a decade. Suddenly, they are back with Awake in the Brain Chamber, which gives you the impression that they were never missing but simply progressing.

Actually, many things happened in the years gone by, including the death of Benjamin Curtis’ one of the band’s members and brother of the main man Brandon Curtis. It turns out the band has been working on the album while Benjamin was still among us, as he can be heard on the album.

Secret Machines were always perfectionists of sorts, and on this new album they have (luckily) stuck to that concept. The eight tracks here have obviously gone through numerous tweaks and touches, and yes, as on previous albums, that concept worked for them. Of course, all perfection could have gone to no avail, if there was no sound musical concept behind it, and it is obvious that Curtis and his main companion Josh Garza have not lost their touch in any way.

They obviously kept on working on their combination of latter-day Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, bringing that combination solidly into the 21st century. And all of it layered with some excellent melodies and playing. Central album tracks like ‘Everything’s Under’ and ‘Everything Starts’ are just excellent examples of that fact. Curtis adds some dark-tinged lyrics to the proceedings, making the album as current as it could possibly be.

Most of the songs were written back in 2010, but what Secret Machines have done is make them sound like tomorrow. An album whose layers have to be uncovered slowly.

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