Looking into Secret Space’s background before listening offers very little clue about what they might sound like. Between them, the three members of the band have shared stages with everyone from Tenacious D to indie-pop act Fitz And The Tantrums, but ‘The Window Room’ gives no indication of this whatsoever. That this album has been produced by Will Yip however, is a different story.
‘The Window Room’ takes the atmospheric emo of Balance And Composure and Title Fight (other recipients of Yip’s production) and weaves a poppier thread throughout. The result is an album that sounds like a cross between the aforementioned pair and Jimmy Eat World – pensive, heartfelt emo with a keen ear for melody.
It’s a very restrained affair overall, keeping big choruses and hooks tightly compacted in favour of feedback-laden soundscapes as on ‘Second Life’. Elsewhere, ‘PxCz’ sends torrents of atmospherics cascading through it, and ‘Beyond The Display’ builds up into its snarling guitars and Dean Tartaglia’s sweetly earnest vocals.
As a concoction, it manages to achieve a level of expanse but keep itself succinct enough as to not drift away. Its main problem is one that plagues many albums like this, in that Secret Space paint with a very narrow range of colours, meaning that it does get very samey as it progresses. And for an album with no really distinctive hooks to latch onto, it does become fairly detrimental to the overall quality.
It really isn’t a problem exclusive to them though, and that in itself provides a hurdle for Secret Space. They’re good at what they do, but they really don’t stand out from the more high-profile names in their scene. But viewing ‘The Window Room’ as its own separate entity, it’s solid enough to make an impact. And though it’s definitely not for everyone, those who are into this sort of thing will find a lot to like here.
‘The Window Room’ by Secret Space is released on 17th June on Equal Vision Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall(@nuttall_luke)