The members of Secret Cities have one of those romantic band bios, drawn together as teenagers at band camp over a mutual love of psychedelia, MJ Parker and Charlie Gokey remained musical pen pals from opposite sides of North Dakota. After years of exchanging mixtapes and amassing collaborations on 4-track recordings, the duo released a record under the moniker The White Foliage in 2005. After a little reshuffling and addition of drummer Alex Abnos, the trio scored a spot on the Western Vinyl roster and was reborn as Secret Cities with a new full-length Pink Graffiti
The record is a mediation on "Brian Wilson and youth", which is apparent from time to time with its layered echoing vocals and occasional Spector-esque movements, perhaps most present in the track "Boyfriends". But the smeared vocals make the lyrics for the most part indecipherable, and despite a tropical touch here and there, the record feels as though it was cut from a chilly, wooded place (oh it was) and not sunny California. Tracks like "Pink Graffiti pt. 1" and "Aw Rats" are just plain mind-blowing, regardless of your opinion on Mr. Wilson.
is for the most part lo-fi psychedelia mixed in with some old school baroque pop, at times snaking like a smoked out Arcade Fire or modern day Love. The record is drawn out with a mode of really scrappy production that flows from start to finish with a sense of only an eye-balled accuracy. The loops crackle, meters bend, and tracks like "Wonder" and "Slacker" drift in and out of consciousness. Its sleepy but simultaneously charged with emotional peaks and valleys, not to mention an endless supply of tinkering odds and ends.
doesn't have many obvious contemporaries, sure its washed-out and shimmery, but not like other en vogue beach bum soundtracks. If you're feeling musically frustrated before the new music fall deluge comes and wakes us up from our summer comas, pick up a copy of Pink Graffiti, and to be honest I think it will wear better after labor day anyway. -amelia trask
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MP3: "Pink Grafitti Part 1"
Secret Cities on Myspace