Back in 2014, we like so many others were impressed and hooked on the debut album from Secret Sight. It was a release which surprised having come out of the blue awareness wise and introduced us to the captivating dark post punk/gothic rock sound of the Italian band. Now the Ancona hailing outfit has repeated the feat with their second full-length, Shared Loneliness; a collection of songs as striking and captivating as their predecessors but with a maturity and enterprise which sets it apart.
Secret Sight emerged the same year as their Red Cat Records released debut album Day.Night.Life, though there is a 2013 self-titled EP under the name Coldwave before then. Recorded with Paolo Rossi (Soviet Soviet, Be Forest, Brothers In Law), Day.Night.Life swiftly sparked support and praise carrying attention, the band supporting its release with an extensive tour around Italy, Switzerland and Austria where the plaudits continued coming. A quartet at the time, the band has since slimmed to a trio with former vocalist Matteo Schipsi leaving, vocals being shared across guitarist/synth player Cristiano Poli and bassist/synth player Lucio Cristino. With its line-up completed by the dramatic rhythms of Enrico Bartolini, Secret Sight linked up with producer Alessandro Ovi Sportelli for Shared Loneliness, resulting in an album which has mellowed out in regard to the raw edged post punk tone of its predecessor but blossomed in its haunting melancholic drama and melodic suggestiveness.
As with their first album, the band’s sound harkens back to eighties post punk/new wave and their gothic companions but with a bolder identity and imagination belonging to Secret Shine. It opens with Lowest Point, the initial coaxing mist of synths soon joined by the atmospheric lures of guitar and bass, keys simultaneously thickening as melodies simmer and echo in the ears. The instrumental’s shadows carry over into the following Stage Lights where the mesmeric groan of the bass and aligning dark textures seduce the imagination ready for the song’s spirited stroll which erupts soon after. Like a fusion of Leitmotiv and The Sound the track dances on the senses, its rhythmic shuffle sculpting their own catchy charm to the temptation. Superb in voice and enterprise, the song swiftly grips attention, vocals as enticing as the sounds around them and with a great nagging essence to its tenacious rhythms, infectious melodies, and tantalising hooks, the tone and heart for the album is set.
The following Blindmind matches its success with its own compelling design and creative intimacy. As in the last song Cristino’s bass makes an addictive proposal, moody and melancholic in its bold exploits with the same traits fuelling the adventure and intimation of Poli’s guitar which beguiles the imagination in its own right. To be honest all three musicians seize attention with their individual prowess but uniting perfectly to create an even greater temptation, that aforementioned maturity lining every twist and turn.
There is also a breath and tone to the song which reminds of The Cure around their second album, a thick shadow draped air which is as open in songs like next up Fallen and its successor Flowers if to lesser degrees. The first of the two similarly bounds through ears, emotively conjured melodies webbing its rhythmic canter as a China Crisis like catchiness brews while the second with a calmer energy has something of a Modern English to it. Though neither song quite matches up to those before them each leaves pleasure high and attention glued before Swan’s Smile envelops the senses and drives the spirit with its sprightly canter. With a scent of The Danse Society cast, the track simply made an already keen appetite hungrier for more, a want quickly satisfied by the rampant dynamics of Over led by the skilful endeavour of Bartolini. A fusion of post punk with gothic and synth pop, it is a rousingly infectious affair with theatre in its veins and emotional drama in its voice.
The pair of Surprising Lord and Sometimes completes the album in compelling style, the first a pulsating and again relentlessly catchy incitement on body and pleasure as dark and imposing as it is hopeful and anthemic. The evocative balladry of the final track ensures the pleasure listening to Shared Loneliness is relentless even if the song does not quite meet the lofty heights of many of its companions such their might. Epitomising the release in its emotional depth and musical enterprise, it is a fine end to another mouth-watering outing with Secret Sight.
We suggest focusing on the CD edition of the album as it carries a quite excellent cover of The Sound song The Fire as a bonus track, Secret Sight not detouring too far from the original but giving it all the energy and passion it and that great band deserves; just a shame it is not on all versions.
Shared Loneliness is available now through Manic Depression Records for its vinyl edition, Unknown Pleasures Records for the CD, and digitally @ https://secretsight.bandcamp.com
Pete RingMaster 16/01/2018
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