This three-piece from Baton Rouge play emotive hardcore in the vein of Chino Horde and Current. It’s a long-familiar and adept style of emo—not quite throwback, not quite a full evolution. The guitarist juggles clean, twinkly precision and distortion with unpredictable palm-muted chugs. Meanwhile, the fluid bass lines and dead-on drumming create a proper home for the intermittent jaw-clenched vocal delivery. The high-strung portions evoke The Nation Of Ulysses, but the restrained technical prowess overrides any fury. It’s all beautifully inventive and carefully orchestrated. “Bench Drop” is a highlight, as it showcases the most harnessed and unleashed facets of Secret Smoker’s sound. It would tickle my fancy to hear them hit harder the next time around, but, regardless, they’ve crafted an unmistakably defined identity in a recently reinvigorated genre. It’s exciting to hear a band that hasn’t so much reinvented the wheel, but instead installed some shiny spinners on a classic car. Got mine on a gorgeous clear vinyl. Recommended.
–Sean Arenas (Protagonist / Adagio830)