Secret Message Machine is one of those unfortunate bands that somehow fell through the cracks of the massively overcrowded music world. Where most bands of the 2000's tend to narrow (a little too far) down to a specific genre, or feel the need to always go to extremes, SMM's approach hit me like a breath of fresh air cutting through all the bullshit spewing from countless venues and websites.
SMM is hard to pin a label on, it's poppy, but not too poppy…it's experimental, but these songs are solid and structured…the lyrics are brainy, but never pretentious…it can get melancholy, but never maudlin...it seems like everything is just right. Granted this didn't hit me the first time I heard this album, but with every following listen it unfurled into something I hadn't exactly expected. Pop is not a genre I'm generally drawn to, and this isn't really "pop," but this album (and the others from SMM…more on that later) stands aside, if not above, any other pop I've heard in a really long time and unlike almost all pop, this only seems to get better with age.
I could gush on much further, but I urge you to just listen and listen and listen and listen…..
Giants, Madmen, and Ghosts
Abandoned Children (an unreleased album of out-takes from Giants, Madmen, and Ghosts)
taken from "Hungry Villains EP"
all tracks 2008, by Michael Barrett
Michael now goes under the name BLIND MONK: