SECRET SMOKER: Dark Clouds: LP

It’s been several years since the release of Secret Smoker’s excellent first LP, Terminal Architecture. The emo trio’s follow-up, Dark Clouds, has the added benefit of being more aggressive than their previous full length. The Baton Rouge outfit shares the hardcore spirit of emo pioneers Embrace and Rites Of Spring. The hair-trigger vocals, although buried in the mix, are an exposed nerve and the twitchy, spastic guitars create an anxious energy. For twelve songs, Secret Smoker bring the feels but also fearlessly explore their anger. Relentless and cathartic, Dark Clouds is for emo fans tired of hearing that their beloved genre has no teeth. –Sean Arenas (Belladonna, belladonna-records.com)