These songs were recorded more than two years ago, but feel at least a decade older than that. A strong scent of pre-millennial emo is tough to miss, though it never overwhelms sturdy songwriting. Leaning toward the gruffer, more unhinged end of things, it nods toward Shotmaker, Hoover, or even Faraquet along the way. In essence, it’s a long way from DC to Baton Rouge, but Secret Smoker straddle the distance with ease.
Fleeting and vivid delivery lends itself to specific jolts which sound like nothing else on the record. They add depth, without being a distraction or feeling like some flourish. A palm muted bridge in “Tides That Bind” channels Deep Elm-era Planes Mistaken For Stars perfectly, but for just a moment. Riffs in the loose, but forceful “Sight In Sound” and “Part-time Retail” carry Jazz June’s nonchalant noodling while the vocals harness Garden Variety’s grit.
Despite all these specific reference points, none really hold up for more than a song or two. Terminal Architecture manages to weave multiple branches of emo-as-it-once-was, without meandering or giving in to crass nostalgia. Taken together, the ten songs pack substance, well beyond any already-nit-picked revival. Being part of such a thing implies doing some old thing a slightly new way. Secret Smoker manage to turn it upside-down, finding a way to do their own thing in an old way.
from: Terminal Architecture, Protagonist Music
– S. ANDERSON