Music Review: Secret Cities, 'Strange Hearts'

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At first listen it’s hard to imagine that the new Secret Cities album was recorded in Kansas City. I felt like I was listening to something from vintage Los Angeles. On further thought however, Kansas City has been a passing point for many, a fact that is reflected in the various musical traditions grounded there (even music genius Charlie Parker, very associated with New York, was born and is still buried there). The history of Kansas is one that you can declare proudly,  as the band proudly does in the bio about the record. Perhaps that accounts for some of the eclectic influences, most notably the Caribbean one, present in this elective, artful, rocking CD.
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Secret Cities is very well produced. There is a nice reverby-ness to the vocals making them sound subdued, and the drums are kept in the back and keep some cool grooves without being too overbearing. On the whole record the drums make for an understated melancholy embedded in each sound. From the first track, ‘Always Friends’, an easy breezy tempo, to the last, ‘Portland’, a clap along sweetheart, the album is full of smooth beats and sounds. It is rock and roll for sure, with some old school Ska/Rocksteady sounds creeping in, that might make you want to dance or at least skip a bit.
It’s a great album to get us geared for spring, will surely make you dream for the warmer months and nice breezes. There is a cinematic quality to the record that brings the songs to life, slow motion and otherwise.  It’s easy to imagine this song being played as an accompaniment to a film scene or a model walking down the runway at the SS2011 Fashion Week shows.
‘No Pressure’ stood out on the album. I listened to this song over and over. I loved the Caribbean style. This song really put me in a nice relaxed steady pace that I wanted to last through the day. Secondly, ‘The Park’ really rocks, with un-pushed soulful infused vocals. There is a nice back-beat to it, like an understated folksy song that will surely arise some vintage veins in your heart. It’s a little 60’sish and the rhythm guitar is more of front of the mix giving a nice crisp groove.

Music Info// Artist: Secret Cities/ Album Name: Strange Hearts / Label:Western Vinyl / Release Date: March 20, 2011 / Genre: Tasteful Indie-Pop

Secret Cities | Pink City from Western Vinyl on Vimeo.

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