The London four piece’s debut EP is littered with throwbacks to goth and post-punk music which would have had fans of the time torn.
Released March 17th, 2017, Self Released.
With two prior releases taken from Secret Cameras, their debut EP marks itself as a collection to showcase their work rather than being a display of previously released material put together, showcasing their take on goth-rock/indie.
While Secret Cameras‘ goth sound is clearly well adapted for the current time, escaping the clutches of echoing the sound of late 2000’s goth bands, it’s almost impossible to ignore the similarities to The Horrors, especially when you see the running time of 25:17, making this EP a lengthy one. That being said, Secret Cameras similarities to The Horrors doesn’t do them any damage, as the London group carefully manoeuvre around sounding like a tribute band, and instead move in a direction that feels comfortably their own.
The first instance of Secret Cameras demonstrating their ability to absorb influences rather than being consumed by them comes from their debut single, Going Places. With a blatant DIY sound, that racks up the reverb on Itamar’s vocals, transforming his classic British indie-rock voice for that of the New York post-punk scene, when partnered with, Going Places immediately stands out for showing that Secret Cameras appear to have higher hopes than to just be another British-alt-rock group.
This idea of breaking out from these British standards can clearly be heard throughout attempting to surface on tracks Going Places, For You and When This Ends, resembling every, Remain voter scrambling to find Irish ancestry for an EU passport. However, the middle ground that Secret Cameras seem to have found between sounding, British, American and even German at some points, feels more confusing rather than something to applaud.
For You as an example, similarly to Going Places, resembles New York’s post-punk scene. Despite this, the difference between the two is that For You mirrors bright-eyed LA indie rock,. Whereas Going Places carries its own by piecing together variations of post-punk with British punk, For You, unfortunately, sounds unnecessarily American, but is unable to hide its British identity when doing so.
Yet Secret Camera’s strongest track is arguably the most British sounding of all. While it may seem typical to music snobs who are looking for new genres from every single track which a new band release, while still retaining an underlying tone of a conventional genre, Beautiful, holds its hands up high and gives a big FU, to anyone who simply cast them aside as Horrors, or American wannabes.
Beautiful is an amalgamation of what appears to be Secret Cameras’ key influences. It has the gusto of American punk, the raw edge of German industrial and the finesse of British indie all combined in a collective 5+ minutes, where Dimitris’ drum work sends each section of Beautiful into a completely different realm, all as equally stunning as the last.
As an EP closer, Beautiful, does a stunning job, crushing any doubt that this group won’t rise to the occasion in the future.
However, that’s a lie, as When This Ends follows Beautiful, in what feels like a track that is completely out-of-place, and simply needs placing after It’s Never Over to keep the flow of Secret Cameras running steadily. Ignoring its misplacement for a moment, When This Ends is another strong track from the EP, arguably being the most challenging track to decipher and understand completely. This puzzling identity doesn’t feel unnecessary when truly given attention. As the 5 and half-minute track switches from scarce atmospheric soundscapes, to indie rock vortex’s of synths and guitar in a love affair, When This Ends simply requires two ears and no over-analysis to enjoy.
For a debut EP, Secret Cameras displays the London group strengths much better than what they still need to practice. There are moments where cracks can be seen, as their combined influences attempt to wreak havoc on a sound that is clearly under construction but is still impressive to witness. Secret Cameras strongest moments come from their unapologetic attitudes on tracks Going Places and Beautiful, both equally endearing to hear with a uniqueness that can easily be tied together. What Secret Cameras need to do is Finesse, which makes perfect sense for a band that are still unsigned and still brand new. That being said, Secret Cameras is completely charming with its rough DIY edges dotted around it’s post-goth/punk exterior.