The Road Leads Where it’s Led

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Secret Machines, a three-piece neo-psychedelic pop band from Texas, ought to be warned. Record label hype for their new EP, The Road Leads Where It’s Led, suggests that the SM’s relocation to NYC might be the beginning of one of those “great rock ’n’ roll stories” — like the Beatles finding a second home in Hamburg, or Hendrix’s career-changing London relocation. Talk about looking straight down the barrel of a gun. This EP, released after the band’s 2004 major label bow, Now Here Is Nowhere, contains two originals — including the brilliant title track — that jump with glammy references to early-’70s British art-pop and trippy, West Coast trance rock (Roxy Music vs. Crazy Horse, with John Bonham holding center stage? It works well.) before tackling four tough covers. It would be ill-advised for anyone to cover Van Morrison’s “Astal Weeks,” but the Machines give it a punchy and empathetic reading. But who needs drowsy, meandering acid-folk versions of “Money (That’s What I Want)” and Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country”? Fast forward to find redemption on the obscure closer, “(De Luxe) Immer Wieder,” originally done by Cluster, a German space-rock band of the ’70s. Here, Secret Machines push the song to a higher plane, keeping the midtempo motorized beats charging forward, allowing the song ample room to mediate and elevate, sweeping the listener up for a cosmic ride along the way. Hats off.

 

Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre (318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak; 248-399-2980) with Kings of Leon.

Walter Wasacz writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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