Essential New Music: Longwave’s “Secrets Are Sinister”

The fourth LP from Longwave manages to be a great big sprawl of an album that never sounds too ambitious for its own good. It’s as if the Brooklyn band and co-producer Peter Katis (Interpol, National) constantly worked to add sound and space to each track, until Secrets Are Sinister seemed as packed as a Phil Spector wall-of-sound project. As a result, Secrets Are Sinister sounds a little anachronistic until you pay attention to the smaller touches that provide the interesting center for each song: the insistent, rattling percussion and prickly guitar solos of “The Devil & The Liar,” the contrast between the thudding bass lines and fragile, unguarded declarations of love on “Eyes Like Headlights.”

Most of the lyrical content deals with missed connections and miscommunications, making the unrestrained instrumental accompaniment seem both ambitious and oddly fruitless; all this bombastic noise, and still we can’t seem to connect. But Secrets Are Sinister’s unflagging energy keeps it from sounding tragic, as if with a few more tries, its narrators and subjects might be able to bridge the gap between them. []

—Eric Waggoner