Make Do And Mend (Part 2) is the latest offering from local spiky power-pop outfit, Secret Rivals, and sees them at their most instant, lively and enjoyable. Where as in the past, tight playing and an engaging aesthetic succeeded over solid songwriting, Secret Rivals have now found the middle ground, are all the better for it.
Opening track, ‘Once More With Heart’ is gem of a leading single with a belting chorus and an insatiable pace. ‘You’re not as lost as you think you are!’ is yelled with enough gusto that it could be a chorus unto itself; and the soaring synths and prickly dance groove give the track the drive it deserves. It’s the kind of song that begs to be played twice in a row; I suggest fulfilling its wish.
Although never quite matching the rough perfection of the opening track, Make Do And Mend (Part 2) never really lets up and its quality is felt throughout. ‘The Part That Kills’ falls somewhere between the better end of The Killers and The Maccabees, with its feet kept firmly in the nineties indie-rock sound that first made Secret Rivals such a captivating live band.
‘I Know Something’ breaks the mould with a marching, bone-dry dance beat, but Secret Rivals’ increasing sense of an individual voice is sustained as their trading boy/girl vocals and familiar guitar lines continue to play their role.
Although it’s true that the octave-heavy vocal approach wanes a little, and there is but a fleeting feeling of familiarity amongst the songs, there is so much here for Secret Rivals to be proud of. Fans of their early live sets, may find that some of that original spike and character has disappeared, but in its place are well-crafted and contagious songs, and if you ask me, that’s a damn good trade.
Available now on It’s All Happening Records