Secret and Whisper's debut release, Great White Whale, was a noticeably underrated and under-publicized gem of an album. For those of us regularly scanning the Christian market for new, original music, the band's unique sound and aggressive melodies were a pleasant surprise. This leads to Teenage Fantasy, the band's sophomore album and a continuation of the sound established on Great White Whale.
When Secret and Whisper first hit the scene, they were frequently described as a Christian version of the old Saosin. That similarity continues with Teenage Fantasy, as vocalist Charles Furney belts out some powerful and very high-pitched vocals. He rides a fine line between passionate and whiny, but manages to stay on the passionate side most of the time. The musical approach is still melodic hard rock with some post-hardcore influences, primarily seen in the heavier guitar work and jumpy double bass. This heavy foundation is paired nicely with rolling melodies that fit Furney's voice perfectly. At the same time, the lead guitars lay a meandering, somewhat atmospheric layer for the vocals to mesh with. These are all elements that prior listeners will already be familiar with from Great White Whale.
In fact, Teenage Fantasy is very similar to Great White Whale. The general ideas in the music have been carried over with some variation. This album is somewhat heavier, with stronger post-hardcore tinges, and is consequently less melodic. Most noticeably, it lacks a firebrand single like "XOXOXO," although "Famous For A Century" and "Star Blankets" make valiant attempts at filling that role. There certainly are tracks that are equally as heavy, but they are less catchy and not quite as energetic. At the same time, "Bedroom Galaxy" and "Youth Cats" are among the best we've heard from the band on either album. Fans of Great White Whale's often haunting melodies may be disappointed, while those who prefer the more random post-hardcore influences will find a lot to enjoy.
As a whole, Teenage Fantasy is not quite as memorable as Great White Whale was. It's a little less adventurous and consequently less powerful. As a result, it takes more time to grow on the listener. But in the end, it turns out to be a solid and enjoyable release, one that is sure to satisfy both old and new fans.- Review date: 4/2/10, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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