All you longhairs aping David Gilmour's trippy riffs: Consider this a warning. Aside from Pink Floyd, to whom they are so indebted they should be paying interest, Secret Machines don't take second place to anyone in the world of space rock. "You just run along 'cause I'm not second best," singer Brandon Curtis bellows in "It's a Bad Wind That Don't Blow Somebody Some Good," the best song on September 000, the band's debut release.
I'm guessing that the three dudes in Secret Machines know their way around Pink Floyd's albums pretty well. Curtis' voice sounds just like Roger Waters' old but timeless with its creaks and groans, always reaching for notes that seem just outside his range. The band's songwriting technique isn't overly complex like Floyd's, but the melancholy tone that dominates the disc's six tunes originates from the same drugged-out miasma.
With a lineup consisting of only keyboard, guitar and drums, Secret Machines find a way to expand their instruments (and minds, maaaaaaan) to get a surprisingly full sound. Part of the album's rich texture is derived from trickery both "Bad Wind" and "Marconi's Radio," the album's opener, employ extended crescendos as intros, making the trio sound like a rabid throng by the time the cuts reach their peaks.
Naming a track after Guglielmo Marconi, one of the radio's inventors, is a subtle wink to listeners; there is nothing even close to revolutionary here. But when a group can make a completely conventional style so exciting, who cares? To anyone who owns more than one Pink Floyd record, September 000 is completely redundant. Yet oh so fucking good.