Full and fussy, big and buzzy; just don’t listen closely
As one of 2004’s most incessantly hyped bands, Secret Machines developed an overnight reputation as the connective tissue between
the fussy, epic rock of Led Zeppelin and the fussy, epic indie-rock psychedelia of The Flaming Lips. The problem is that, while the band inventively conflates propulsive pop with dollops of proggy excess, its ideas tend to outnumber its hooks.
Consequently, the eight songs on Ten Silver Drops often fail to connect, a shortcoming exacerbated by Ben and Brandon Curtis’ less-than-commanding vocals and the occasional outright dud like the endlessly plodding “Daddy’s In The Doldrums.” But Secret Machines’ flair for crafting dense, intricately crafted soundscapes helps rescue it from its faults, as does the presence of the spirited ringer “Faded Lines.” Still, Ten Silver Drops rewards chemical enhancement more than it does rapt attention.