Review by Shannon Shumaker
Born from hardship and struggle, Secret Stuff’s new EP, This Is Fine is more than just fine. While only five songs in length, This Is Fine feels like healing right off the bat in beautifully delivered, yet quivering lines like, “I’ve got this idea in my head/That if we quit moving we’ll be dead/So let’s just keep moving on/Singing our stupid songs.” Right away, it’s apparent what This Is Fine means to Secret Stuff, and all five emotional songs reflect these personal yet completely relatable experiences.
“I Knew You So Briefly, You Dead Soap Dog” opens up This Is Fine with bright, sweeping instrumentals, despite the longing and sadness in the vocals, which creates a beautiful contrast. The guitar work in this track is very soothing and inviting, so much that when the chorus comes in and the vocals switch from mellow to big and passionate, you can really feel the emotion in the song. Not only that, but the differing vocal stylings that can be found in just this first track are wonderful - they simply help tell the story and really get the raw emotion across to listeners. This opening track is an anthem about overcoming hardships and moving forward, which is the overall theme of This Is Fine.
Following “I Knew you So Briefly, You Dead Soap Dog” is “I Lost My Dinosaur,” which starts off similarly to the first track, with stunning guitar work accompanied by grungy bass work. Where “I Lost My Dinosaur” differs from the opening track, however, is in the rhythm section, with a very strong bass tone and more upbeat drums that keep it chugging forward. Though much like the song before it, this track also hosts some incredibly personal yet relatable lyricism, which is a driving force behind the EP as a whole. It’s hard not to connect with lyrics like, “You can tell me I’m strong/But I feel pretty weak/It’s pretty hard to belong/When no one cares what you think.” Delivered with a quivering yet strong voice, these lines stand out and really hit home because of the emotion and experience packed into them.
Following two very emotional opening tracks, “Golden Sound” slows things down a bit with some stunning guitar work and soft, soothing vocals. This track is a nice change of pace from the emotionally charged beginning of This Is Fine, giving listeners a chance to breathe and collect themselves before diving into the rest of the EP. When they do, they’ll be met with “A Man To Please,” which feels much brighter than the songs that come before it. While the vocals are still just as shaky and emotional, musically, this track feels a little more upbeat. The constantly changing instrumentals and tempo changes that happen in the blink of an eye change the mood of “A Man To Please” drastically, making it a roller coaster from start to finish, and in the best way possible. And then, closing things out is the soft, hopeful final track, “No Promises.”
Not only does This Is Fine feel like a journey from start to finish, but it feels like the beginning of a new chapter for Secret Stuff. With the way that this three piece bares all on this EP, it’s hard to believe that they go through such an emotional journey in only five short songs, and it only makes one wonder what they’ll be able to accomplish on any future releases. This Is Fine promises a bright future for Secret Stuff, and by the end of the EP, you’ll be rooting for them, too.
Listen to "I Knew You So Briefly, You Dead Soap Dog"
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