Secret Smoker, “Terminal Architecture” LP
Well, hello, the late ’90s. I’ve missed you. Before screamo, bands would work angular riffs, battering their guitars and vocal chords to produce emotionally-resonant, cathartic music that shredded vocal chords while simultaneously breathing life into your wounded self.
It was really important when I was 19. Lyrics like “You fixed the game/ I played along” might not have as much emotional resonance for me at 34, but the stop on a dime, herky-jerky rhythmic flow of post-hardcore will always get my blood going.
Secret Smoker have a very nice bit of throwback, here. Terminal Architecture is essentially a tribute to a genre that had its heyday a decade and a half ago, but listening to “Bench Drop” and its tightly-wound intro building to the explosive release certainly makes you think that there might be life left in the old body yet.
I mean, seriously: I listen to tons of garage, and that’s a horse that’s been flogged for nearly 50 years, now. Secret Smoker demonstrate quite a breadth of musical styles, working more than just three chords and a sneer.
My favorite part about bands like this? The bass work. The drums are always crisp and clean, and the guitars razor-sharp, but it’s the bass that seems to provide the heartbeat for Secret Smoker and their ilk. It’s less a counterpoint to the guitars or vocals, and more a way to ground everything.
Terminal Architecture breezes by pretty quickly, hitting and leaving. It’s for the best — I’m not sure how much longer the nostalgia trip would work, and listening to someone scream at me for half an hour is a little panic-inducing.
It’s available on clear or limited-edition white vinyl from the Protagonist Music store. Comes with a sticker and a download, too.