CD REVIEW: Secret Season - On Our Own
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Secret Season
CD: On Our Own
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Acoustic Folk
Sounds Like: Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Mix (Lack of Low End Frequency), More Vocal Passion
Secret Season is a Franco-American alternative rock duo that hails from Boulogne Billancourt, France. Their debut release entitled On Our Own was released in 2011. Band is comprised of Mark Moogalian (vocals & guitar) & Isabelle Risacher (Vocals, Keyboards, & Flute).
The CD takes flight with short psychedelic intro piece Mr. Farride” that merges directly into Track 2 “Patience” a psychedelic alternative rock that serves up steady rock groove against catchy vocal melodies, & vocal harmonies from Moogalian & Risacher. Track 3 “Sight Seeing” shifts gears with methodical musical build, smooth flowing groove against an infectious melody line from Moogalian & Risacher. Track 4 my personal favorite “All the Money Says” serves up yet another up-beat folk-rock ditty with driving rock rhythm, against impressive melodic accents along the ways. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, & Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) & Even the Beatles. This CD makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of psychedelic warmth, variety, & strong melodic structure. I would classify this music as alternative pop rock, with a slight psychedelic aftertaste with a side of alternative folk. The songs themselves are addictive, fascinating, & complete with mysterious subject matter. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. The players themselves write, & play their parts extremely well song for song. Along the way you will notice lush layers of instrumentation. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also catch impressive things well placed flutes, Keyboards accents well placed percussion, exotic sound effects & lush harmonies layered everywhere. Moogalian’s voice works well across the board & fills the sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively. It will at times remind you of a cross between Bob Dylan, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) & Gordon Gano (Violet femmes). All songs are short & sweet musical experiences. From heartfelt “Lost & Found” to psychedelic “You only Keep the Love” & “Be Still” to striking “Till Tomorrow” to the passionate title track this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Sometimes I Wonder” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
The mix - though effective lacks serious low end punch. The kick drum sounds extremely flat. As a result the CD sounds a bit thin on high quality sound systems. If Moogailian mixed or produced this CD himself he did a fairly good job. He just needs to find that magical sweet spot when it comes to low end frequency. I also wish at times Moogalian took more vocal risks throughout the CD - especially during the finale moments of the music. He was getting warm on “On Our Own” - more in this direction. Masterful artists & performers know how to capture Lighting in a Bottle by letting it all hang out when the right musical moment arrives. As a result many of the vocal performances are a bit lukewarm & lack emotion & dynamic.
On Our Own by Secret Season is an impressive musical production from start to finish. The music is clean, goes down smooth, & the messages are compelling, fascinating & sung from a passionate perspective. Its strong suit – the wide musical variety & amazing vocal unison between Moogalian & Risacher. They possess enough musical talent & songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous. The musicianship is very consistent & effective. Once again the vocals, vocal harmonies, & melodic accents are brilliantly placed & extremely well crafted. As a listener I remained entertained the entire time. As this duo's sound evolves over the years I would be very interested in watching & listening to it all happen.