The Secret History - The World That Never Was (Cover Artwork)

The Secret History

The World That Never Was (2010)

Le Grand Magistery

The Secret History is an indie pop band from New York City, so they are far from the typical Org band. But they're actually really great.

The general tenor is dark and haunting (occasionally literally–see "Sex with Ghosts"), with vocals alternating between male and female. The drummer kicks out dance beats while the keyboards and guitars supply sugary melodies. The vocals float.

The album kicks off with "Johnny Anorak," a callback to C86-era fashion, which is probably the best dancing song on the album. It is a hit at all the discos.

But the band isn't all fun and moping. There are some great lyrics here, too: "Bela Lugosi's dead, and I don't feel so hot myself"; "In the basement where we took an oath / in the basement where his record collection invented us both"; and "Life is hard, but death is harder / so I took up with an underage martyr" are just some of the great lines on the record. And they respectively come from three of the best songs on it.

The problem with the album is that it's a 12-song album that is about an hour long, which is really longer than a punk like me feels like listening to indie pop. I would feel weird about confessing this kind of personal problem in a review, but the issue is compounded by the fact that some of the songs, while good, just aren't quite catchy enough to sustain their five-or-so-minute length. This pops up in the second half of the album when the songs slow down and become less danceable, and this is a real problem because indie pop really relies on being catchy.

Basically, this is a tough album to review, because it has four or five of the best songs of the year and a bunch of other really good tunes, but it loses something in becoming a full-length album. There's no doubt that you should check this out. If you have any pop sensibilities, you will probably find at least a few tracks that really catch your attention. Maybe even obsessively. And if you like to listen to songs rather than albums, you may just find yourself a tardy album of the year candidate.