Self-proclaimed Secret Machines fan David Bowie explored the duality of emotion in "Rebel Rebel" and "Young Americans"; now, Secret Machines have appropriated the theme on their second full-length. Ten Silver Drops' eight tracks drip with the New York trio's trademark psychedelia: trippy, distorted guitarwork la Pink Floyd that's bolstered by propelling rhythms and soaring vocals. But whereas 2004's Now Here Is Nowhere strove for big-rock bombast, Drops celebrates a sense of empowerment gleaned only through crushing solitude. "Sitting at home, what am I doing? / Boy waiting by the phone / Alone, jealous and stoned," Ben Curtis sighs plaintively yet optimistically at the album's opening, embracing his role as doormat. On "All at Once (It's Not Important)," he continues to distance himself from a loved one: "Remember back when we first met / It don't mean much." And if not exactly ebullient, the mood throughout the somberly titled "Daddy's in the Doldrums," "I Hate Pretending" and "Faded Lines" remains that of assured serenity. In addition to the Thin White Duke, the 'Chines have already received comparisons to U2 and Led Zeppelin. Now that they've found a compelling emotional center, they're well on their way to creating a catalog that's just as timeless.
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