| Secret Lives of the Freemasons’ This Was Built To Make You Dance took me by surprise from the very beginning. If you’re the type of person who likes to classify the music you listen to by genre, this album might bewilder you. Secret Lives rose from the ashes when two existing bands collided and fused, and thus their sound bears obvious influences from two different sides of the genre playing field. Their style is skillfully crafted and polished, yet constantly changing. Sometimes led by catchy melodies, sometimes driven by harsh screams, and sometimes void of any vocals whatsoever, it’s definitely a CD that makes you put some thought into listening.
Punctuated by odd non-singing tracks that sound more like background noise than anything, each song is thoughtful and packed with power from each member in the six-piece. The dazzling orchestrations demand your attention, and you won’t regret being pulled in. Secret Lives is a blend of the best you can expect from each part of a typical band… making it anything but a typical band. Thought-out to the point of near-perfection, the drums rely on steady beats and terrific fills rather than falling back constantly on breakdowns. Secret Lives features three guitarists and a bassist, and not one amongst them goes under- or overused. They support each other while carrying their individual parts with considerable strength. Instead of competing with the vocals, the other instruments instead complement them well. It’s surprising, given the vocals in question.
It’s lovely singing for the most part, turning occasionally to the type of coherent screaming you’ll get from Senses Fail and Underoath. I’ve heard claims that Brien’s voice is identical (or trying too hard to be identical) to Daryl Palumbo’s. If, however, you pick up this CD expecting Glassjaw II, you’ll be deeply disappointed. Secret Lives’ overall construction and delivery is what sets them apart from everyone else.
“Dance 1”, the opening track, is 45 seconds of radio surfing and foreign language with a bit of guitar at the end. The latter allows the fade into the next track (and, in my opinion, the first real song), “Make Like a Door and Shut Up”. Its place in the tracklisting is well chosen; while it doesn’t show very well how melodic Secret Lives can be, it’s a good sampling of what they have to offer. Their sing-songy side is showcased wonderfully in the next track (and my personal favorite), “It Only Took a Whisper”. This is when you start to realize where the album’s title comes into play.
“Glazed Over Eyes Never Lie” and “To the Barricades!”, love songs like most of the others on the CD, show the band’s versatility in an experimental fashion without fear of losing the audience’s interest. Well-established hooks and Secret Lives’ natural infectiousness allow them to branch out in every direction imaginable and touch base just in time before leaping off again. They can even sing about prostitutes, complete with clips of mid-sex moaning (Exhibit A: “If It Weren’t For Pickpockets, I’d Have No Sexlife At All”). The last couple of tracks, including one live, revert to a semi-uniform style as they build up to a strong ending to This Was Built to Make You Dance.
The only things that take away from the album’s strength are the aforementioned “Dance 1”, “Dance 2”, and so forth. While they would have been fine on their own, on a short additional CD or something, splicing them between Secret Lives’ “real” songs decreases the overall attack power. But that’s really the only improvement I can think of for this album. This is definitely one to pick up if you’re looking from an amazing piece of work from an unquestionably amazing band.
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| THIS WAS BUILT TO MAKE YOU DANCE
1) Dance 1
2) Make Like A Door And Shut Up
<< 3) It Only Took A Whisper >>
4) A Song Of Hope
5) Glazed Over Eyes Never Lie
6) To The Barricades
7) Dance 2
8) This Was Made To Make You Dance (The Dance Dance Revolution)
9) If It Weren't For Pickpockets, I'd Have No Sexlife At All
10) And Then A Hurricane
11) Dance 3
12) I Fought The Broad
(And The Broad Won)
13) How To Beat A Dead Horse
14) Dance 4
15) Less Tude More Dude
16) Dance 5