No secret, Benjamin Curtis has pushed on to dreamier pastures with his excellent new project School Of Seven Bells. Choosing to make music with the Deheza twins instead of his own brother, Brandon, has been a good decision for his art, although we’re left to assess how its effected Secret Machines, who continue manufacturing their psych/prog/rock/whathaveyou with the other Curtis, Josh Garza and replacement guitarist Phil Karnats on the recently released Secret Machines LP. “Atomic Heels” is the collection’s first single, now affixed to a neon-hued, flickering video, and at least for this dark-hearted pop burst, things seem alright. It starts with a gothic stomp, loses some steam in the early verses, but eventually builds into a fully realized rocker with a lofty hook, British Invasion backing vocals, and Karnats finding a home in the mesh with pinging, textural guitar lines. When all the parts congeal, it earns its “Atomic” feel.
Secret Machines is out via World’s Fair Label Group/TSM.