You Oughta Know: Secret Machines, NOW HERE IS NOWHERE
15 years ago this week, The Secret Machines released their debut album on Reprise Records, an LP which – despite failing to set the charts on fire itself – helped established the band with audiences, particularly those across the pond.
Co-produced by the band with Jeff Blenkinsopp, who also worked with Ash on their TWILIGHT OF THE INNOCENTS album, NOW HERE IS NOWHERE was recorded at Stratosphere Sound in Manhattan, a studio which played host to artists ranging from Depeche Mode and Ice-T to Carly Simon and Tenacious D before its closure in December 2012. Critics were falling all over themselves to praise the record: Q Magazine called it “a spiraling blend of infectious psychedelic pop that froths and fuzzes for a noisy hour,” Uncut described it as being “like John Bonham playing with Can, or Floyd-meets-Spiritualized with a barely repressed pop consciousness,” and The Guardian declared outright, “Each track is astonishing.”
In other words, if you don’t know it already, then you ought know!
You may note that all three of those reviews are from UK publications, and it’s clear that the UK listeners were paying attention, since three of the album’s singles cracked the UK Singles charts: “Nowhere Again” (#49), “Sad and Lonely” (#38), and “The Road Leads Where It’s Led (#56). Alas, American audiences weren’t quite prepared to embrace the sound of The Secret Machines yet, but by the time they released their sophomore effort, TEN SILVER DROPS, in 2008, they were: the album made it to #159 on the Billboard 200 and songs like “All at Once (It’s Not Important)” and “Lightning Blue Eyes” got some notice on college and alt-rock radio.
While The Secret Machines aren’t exactly what you’d call active, their official status remains “on hiatus,” which is at least better than “broken up,” and they did at least recently release a live album from their concert archives (LIVE AT THE GARAGE) which you might still be able to hunt down in physical form but which is absolutely available digitally.
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