Aptly named Peach, the sophomore release from Chicago band Secret Colours is bountiful with fuzz—be it from real peaches or merely the fuzzy reverb edge that so effectively graces Secret Colours’ sound. Following their 2010 self-titled debut, Secret Colours have come back to ride the psychedelia revival wave at its forefront. Peach is borderline polished when contrasted with the band’s earlier work—if you can even call shoe-gaze influenced psychedelia polished. It’s more polished in the sense that Peach has a refinement in sound and it’s evident that this band has found a type of aesthetic clarity.
This newfound refinement can perhaps be attributed to bringing in Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Gomez, Iron And Wine) as producer. With more ears on board and Deck’s guiding hand, Secret Colours are no longer allowing their musical influences of Blur, the Beatles, or the Black Angels to take over. With Peach Secret Colours have cast aside some of these more pronounced reference points in favor creating their own distinct sound. The pounding rhythm and hazy vocals heard on “Freak” create an air an urgency that makes the track a fitting first single. The pleading croons of “I wanna be your freak” by vocalist Tommy Evans are not merely wants but desperate desires. It’s followed by “Euphoric Collisions,” which finds a sweet balance between Britpop and psychedelic with its chipper chorus and an overload of squalling guitars.
Slow build-ups and explosive releases are no stranger to Secret Colours. This is most prominently displayed on “Blackhole” where we find the track’s synths and backing keys deliberately building up to a guitar solo that gives the longer track a timely end. We come face to face with this type of tension building again on “Faust,” which was last seen on the band’s EP 3. This track was surely the standout on their 2011 release, which consisted of five thematically scattered songs that desperately needed the retentive bound of a full length album. Nevertheless, “Faust” is tight and fleshes out Peach well. Its powerful, heavily distorted guitars give the album a Rocky-punch-in-the-air moment.
For a 21st century band aiming for a sound way before their time, the mounds of distortion and trippy guitars that embellishes the album are the furthest thing from gimmicky. With Peach these effects add to the album’s thematic purpose and become an integral additive that give the songs their meditative texture. “Me” fully attests to this, operating underneath a haunting wave of haze and fuzz accompanied with lush harmonies. Ending the album on a high and paying a visit to the ’90s, “Lust” encapsulates the sugary appeal of Britpop with its layered guitar work and tight bass lines. “Put me under the spell/Make me be myself” is repeated throughout the track, and it’s in that moment that that we can see Secret Colours have found themselves.