Side projects are always a fun endeavor for both long-term fans and the artists that embark on them. Needless to say, I was excited when I first heard about the side project of some of post-hardcore/experimental band Dance Gavin Dance’s members they call Secret Band. The band has a feel of screamo/psychedelic within it, and recently began recording a full length album, but released an EP they call Secret Band EP. If their EP is any indication for how their full length album may sound, Secret Band has the potential of coming out of the shadows and not being so secret anymore.
Secret Band’s lineup includes DGD vocalist Jon Mess, guitarist/vocalist Will Swan and drummer Matt Mingus. The only real difference with Secret Band is that they don’t have DGD lead vocalist Tilian Pearson and they have bassist Eric Lodge in lieu of Tim Feerick. With that in mind, listeners will notice some great similarities as soon as the first track “Devil’s Gospel” begins to play. If Swan’s intricate guitar riffs don’t give away the two band’s similarities, Mess’s familiar belting vocals should do it.
For any fans of the clean vocals of Pearson in DGD, I’m sorry to say that The Secret Band EPhas no clean vocals within it. However, the EP possesses strong qualities for those interested in the experimental genre and fans of Swan’s funk-style guitar influences. On a pure musical standpoint, the EP keeps you interested from start to finish with its guitar transitions and drumming grooves played by Mingus.
The track that seemed to stand out the most for me was “Breakfast Time.” Not only does the track entail some great guitar riffs from Swan, but the track includes odd, yet catchy lyrics by Mess that DGD fans have come to expect over the years. It’s hard to listen to the track and not have the lines “it’s breakfast time/ try to wear your breakfast clothes” stuck in your head.
Though Secret Band has very similar characteristics within it compared to Dance Gavin Dance, it’s still a fun sound nonetheless. The band seemed to try and take of an approach of focusing more on unclean vocals and funk-esc style guitar riffs to give them the sound Dance Gavin Dance is typically known for. The stray away from the clean vocals is interesting, and usually I’m a big fan of clean vocals within post-hardcore music, but within the context of this EP the music seems to fit without it. My only real beef with the EP, if anything, is that it’s over with in just over ten minutes. However, I understand that it’s just an EP and they’re not supposed to be very long in length. As stated above, the full-length album has potential if the EP is any indication of how it’ll sound.