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Secret Machines | The Moth, The Lizard and the Secret Machines (2023)

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Much like a frantic movie about “unfinished business” or “the one that got away,” Secret Machines spent the past few years finally putting the finishing touches on what should have been their fourth LP. Long regarded as a lost album, The Moth, The Lizard and the Secret Machines was actually put on pause in 2010 and massaged in the aftermath of 2020’s return-to-form record Awake in the Brain Chamber.
This essentially makes it the missing link between that effort’s brash pop songs and 2008’s sorely overlooked self-titled LP. (The latter receives a long overdue digital reissue this fall – one that features a far more fitting tracklisting and robust final master from Slowdive drummer/like-minded solo musician Simon Scott).

Secret Machines: The Moth, The Lizard and the Secret Machines

Audio CD:

Vinyl:

“If you listen to them in order,” says singer/multi-instrumentalist Brandon Curtis, “Awake in the Brain Chamber is basically a reaction to the Moth record – very tight and verse/chorus/verse/chorus rather than loose, sprawling and unconventional.”

That contrast makes perfect sense when you consider how The Moth was made. Rather than write and painstakingly rehearse its widescreen material, Secret Machines workshopped the record in real time the way a manic novel might be written. It started as a simple experiment; having recently hit a rough patch due to the loss of their label (World’s Fair shuttered right after Secret Machines was released) and other maddening business matters, the bi-coastal band’s core duo (Curtis and cleanup hitter Josh Garza) were eager to regroup in the secluded home studio of guitarist Phil Karnats.

A fellow alum of Dallas’ incestuous music scene, Karnats had joined Secret Machines for its self-titled sessions and quickly found his own fiery voice within the gap left by Benjamin Curtis. (Brandon’s brother announced his amicable split from the formidable trio he co-founded in 2007 – a decision spurred on by his new project School of Seven Bells – and passed away from a rare form of lymphoma six years later).

Between their burgeoning knowledge of production software and lack of pressure from a label or their longtime management team – both were out of the picture by 2009 – Curtis and Karnats felt driven to record some rough material themselves. “If it didn’t work,” remembers Curtis, “It didn’t work. We had nothing to lose. But it did work, partly because the environment was so relaxed. I wouldn’t say the sounds were there right out of the gate, but as time progressed, we were able to pull something together that made perfect sense for where our heads were at the time.”

Tracklist:

  • There’s No Starting Over
  • I Think It’s Light Outside
  • You Want It Worse
  • Even Out The Overflow
  • Last One Out
  • The Answer
  • Crucifixion Time
  • Run Out The Silver Light
  • The Finalizer

Preview:

Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Tsm Recordings
Original Release Date ‏ : ‎ 2023
Label ‏ : ‎ Tsm Recordings
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BWVBD3PJ
Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1

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