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CD REVIEW: Secret Season - The Answer :

by: Cyrus Rhodes




Artist/Band: Secret Season

Album: The Answer :
Label: Independent Artist

Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock, Avant Garde

Sounds Like: The Cardigans, Cake, B%2's. The Flaming Lips

Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Everything Changes, Love Monkey, The Equation, Try so Hard

Weakness:  Repetitive Catalog, More time signature and beat variety, more rocked out songs please




(FRANCE) The Answer is Secret Season's 3rd album and includes a nice variety of songs and sounds. Recorded on the Seine River, The Answer includes songs that can be described as rock, blues, oldies, trip-hop, space rock and country. All songs are written by Secret Season, meaning Mark Moogalian and Isabelle Risacher, who also play all the instruments. The Answer was recorded over a 17-month period, making it the longest-lasting Secret Season recording project to date. The album also features trumpet and musical saw on a few tracks, a first for Secret Season. The Answer can be described as psychedelic minimalist pop with rock, blues, country and trip-hop influences, and includes one song in French. The Answer is the fruit of a 17-month creative drive and we hope you enjoy it. Band consists of 2 core members: Mark Moogalian : voice, guitars, drums, trumpet, musical saw: Isabelle Risacher : voice, keyboards, flutes. 

The CD gently lifts off the ground with melodic intro groove “The Answer” .This song serves up infectious harmonies, against mesmerizing vocals, impressive guitar/keyboard tandems and a hypnotic rhythm that quickly lead you by the hand down the path of trippy psychedelic indulgence. Track 2 “Love Monkey” keeps things rocking with its psychedelic groove, impressive solo guitar touches and accents painted against a grand mosaic of trippy sound. The striking musical flow of this piece brilliantly moves like an ocean across the ears. All in all it’s one of my favorite pieces on the CD. Track 3 “Distraction of Love” is an impressive earthy love song that is quite infectious, full of hooky lyrical flow and melody that flow and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. This piece is quite uplifting to the senses and is cut from the same cloth as the Beatles.  As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Beatles, The Cardigans, Cake, The White Stripes, Modest Mouse, and The Flaming Lips. I can also hear No Doubt and even a dash of The B52’s. I would classify this music as whacked out Psychedelic Rock, Punk, Alternative Rock with an Indie College Rock flair. I can also hear experimental music with classic remnants of Alternative Rock. The CD presents brilliant flashes of soulful ambience and upbeat, carefree artistic perspective. You will also notice rich layers of instrumentation layered along the way full of dynamics, solo guitar, organ, keyboards, impressive guitar psychedelics, lush harmonies, low end beats, and enticing The Moogalian/ Risacher dream team showcase impressive singing and songwriting skills throughout. His signing and guitar work are pretty solid across the board. I especially like the sizzling R&B guitar licks in nature. Rhythm section delivers pure grooved magic I love all guitar solos as well. Moogalian and Risacher showcase impressive singing and songwriting skills and have clearly proven themselves with this release. All engineering aspects check out well. CD possesses thick low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. From my personal favorite “Everything Changes” to flowing “Life’s a Mystery” to Jazzy “The Equation” to folksy “Dandelion Dragonfly” heartfelt “You Owe Me Good” to striking “After Time” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “So Long” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.   

It’s fair to say the CD tends to sound a bit repetitive overall.. Most of the beats follow down the same "easy going" path. CD needs more time signature and beat variety. I also wish there were 3-4 full tilt rocking pieces on this CD to mix things up a bit. To go with this, the rhythm section sounds a bit thin and overly synthetic. The horn section on “Try so Hard” sounds super cheesy – but I must admit it works.   

Secret Season not only rock the house, they are just a fun band to listen to – period. This latest release entitled “The Answer” is a trippy fun journey through the Tunnel of Love that keeps it real. Its strong suit is it’s amazing psychedelic rock n' roll  ambience and song for song musical flow. Once again Moogalian and Risacher get high marks from me for their amazing harmonies a bit similar to June and Johnny Cash. They go together like a hand in glove and the dual vocal delivery really mixes well. This CD will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want flowing trippy 70's psychedelic ambience to fill their sonic space. The CD comes fully loaded and makes for a great extended play experience as well, Did I mention there are 13 tracks? I recommend you just hit play, close your eyes and see where the journey takes you. This CD feels like a musical journey and will work best when experienced in that capacity. So if you’re looking for a psychedelic musical experience with sonic ambience, theatrical brilliance and a psychedelic rock aftertaste, then I highly recommend you take a listen to the latest CD from France’s own Secret Season, entitled The Answer right away.     

Cyrus Rhodes