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Recording:
  It's A Secret To Everybody  
 
Artist:
  The Close  
 
Label:
  Moodswing  
 
Release Date:
  21.October.2003  
 
Reviewed by:
  Tracers  
         
 
Rating:
   
         
 
Review:
 

The first time I encountered Atlanta band The Close, I wasn't exactly sure what to make of them. I immediately liked the way their guitar-driven edge combined with danceable rhythms. However, I couldn't quite place their influences. In some ways, the vocal interplay between guitarist Brooks Meeks and keyboardist Theresa Marie Fedor reminded me a bit of The Kiss Offs; however The Close didn't have the strong garage rock influence of that band. Instead, musically they reminded me more of the straight-up early 90s Chapel Hill bands like Archers of Loaf, especially if you considered the prominent basswork of Dustan Nigro. Still, they had more of an angular tone which I couldn't quite place. In other words, The Close's music didn't really sound like anything else out there, but it was good nevertheless.

Anyway, since then, I've seen them in concert numerous times. Each time, as I've watched them musically come together, I've thought they've been better than the last. So, needless to say, I've been really looking forward to their latest CD release, It's a Secret to Everybody. Luckily, the album is quite solid. Furthermore, at 37 minutes, it also makes its statement, then gets out, and leaves the listener waiting for more.

The first track from It's a Secret to Everybody, John Henry by Decision, pretty much sets the framework for the roots of The Close's sound. It begins slowly and builds insistently before changing rhythms. Vocalist Meeks sings in his instantly recognizable tone. As the pace quickens, the music becomes driven by bassist Nigro, so that the song turns into angular, danceable Indie Rock. After that beginning, the band moves quickly into my favorite song on the album, Diane Don't Dive. Like John Henry by Decision, it's catchy and you can dance to it. Unlike the previous song, the lyrics (and Meeks's delivery) drive this tale.. In fact, as Meeks moves into the second verse and begins, "Away from the band, and away from the bar," I could easily see this as the theme song for so many of the people I know. But beyond this, the song is well crafted, as all four members build towards an almost cacophonic climax, which is brought back to reality with Meeks' almost mournful repetitive cry of "Away from your heart."

The next song, Darkroom Dodger, has many of the same elements as Diane Don't Dive. It has similar jangly guitar, and understated keyboards. It also has a dominant bassline that drives the action. More importantly (and the reason why I single this song out), Darkroom Dodger is the one song that has improved in the translation from stage to recorded medium. Live, the song always seemed overwhelmed by Fedor's vocals and tambourine; in this version, everything combines in a more even keel, so that the overall effect is more coherent.

After these first three songs, the overall blueprint of The Close's approach to music has been laid out and the rest of the album pretty much builds on these earlier themes. For instance, Code of Ethics matches the tone of John Henry by Decision. Likewise, although it has numerous rhythm changes, Paper Trail also harkens back to the overall mood of the earlier tracks. In fact, upon further examination, many of the signature elements of the band are repeated throughout It's a Secret to Everybody, from Meeks's angular guitar riffs to Nigro's higher-pitched basswork to the ever-present changes of pace and rhythms. To some, these similarities might indicate that the album itself is repetitive; however, in each song these components are re-combined in a different way, so that the listener can hear and identify the patterns without becoming overwhelmed by them.

At the end of It's a Secret to Everybody, I find that I want the album to continue I want more of The Close. In and of itself, this is a great compliment. Furthermore, as a whole, the album mostly lives up to the potential I've seen within The Close and seems to be a fairly good reflection of the energy of their live shows. Outside of that, even if you've never see The Close live, It's a Secret to Everybody is a solid Indie rock album that manages to combine the helter-skelter rhythms of post-punk with the guitarwork and melodies you usually find in a garage band. As these are two of my pet genres, it's perhaps not surprising that I find this album as compelling as I do.

 
         
 
Related Links:
  The Close in concert during October of 2002.  
         

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