Secret Cities – Pink Graffiti

Secret Cities - Pink Graffiti

Secret Cities informs us that Pink Graffiti is a quasi-concept album about Brian Wilson and young people. While it’s well-written, it’s largely unnecessary; you’ll have a hard time understanding a lot of the words on this album, much less a narrative about the great Brian Wilson. This album could be about water-skiing and you’d have no right to argue either way. They’ve got the mandatory description of the music, which usually stretches the qualities of the band in order to make them more intriguing.  In this case, however, they forgot the part where they tell me that this album is fucking awesome. Because it is. Fucking awesome.

Pink Graffiti is psych-pop with suppressed vocals and dense, swirling instrumentation. Harmonies, both male and female, drift in and out throughout the album.  It’s not an unheard of format, but in execution, these guys absolutely kill it. The instrumentation syncs up with the vocal melodies in order to create the best possible hooks for each song. They use subtly to their advantage; a certain guitar riff or vocal pattern isn’t the lone element attempting to carry a song together. The guitar, the whitewash noise, the harmonies, the piano, and the melody will all do their part to equally uphold the respective song. When you’re able to appreciate all aspects of a song instead of being overexposed to one certain element, the song will stay fresh as well as reveal itself at different moments.

Opener “Pink City” takes the aforementioned psych-pop approach and crushes it with a stellar hook. “Slacker” excels with female vocals and initially a great piano riff before giving way to an excellent violin-led outro. “Pink Graffiti pt.2” is ethereal, working in harmonies seamlessly, before launching into another fabulous hook. “Wander” is a beautiful, heart-felt instrumental. “Color” ups the tempo, adding in shimmering guitars for a catchy chorus that’s sure to rattle around in your head, even if you can’t sing it back because of muffled lyrics. “Aw Rats” wasn’t my favorite song title for some reason, but I know an awesome song when I hear one. The most cathartic, dynamic song on the album, “Aw Rats” applies 100% melodic artistry and sees the song flourish into an unabashed champion. The final three songs follow similar formulas to those that precede them, but of course, they’re all very good in their own right.

Secret Cities has an awesome album here. Every song is a standout, while keeping an inordinate amount of cohesiveness. Everybody should love it. I don’t know what else to tell you. Listen to it, for God’s sake.