Saturday, May 28, 2011

Album Review - On Our Own by Secret Season

On Our Own
Secret Season
The American Studio


In an ever-expanding search for alternative music that is both diverse and unusual, that skirts the mundane, that lives outside the boundaries of the generic, I was introduced to the Secret Season (Mark Moogalian and Isabelle Risacher). On Our Own is their debut album and, in my estimation, it is well worth the price of admission. While admittedly not for everyone On Our Own overflows with haunting, moving guitar work and features a sultry-voiced lead singer (Moogalian) that somehow manages to channel both a young Lou Reed and a mature Joe Strummer at one and the same time. The background vocals by Isabelle Risacher are evocative and ethereal and everything that features her voice is full, smooth, and suggestive of Aimee Mann, Thao, or Hannah Georgas - especially on Sight Seein’ and Lost and Found.

The Secret Season has an Indie/Alternative-pop-minimal sound and the more I listened to the album the more enjoyable I found it. The addition of a really good bass player might help expand their sound but that’s only a minor flaw. What could push this band into greatness, in my opinion, is that it might not be a bad idea to hand over the lead vocals to Isabelle Risacher for a song or two. I just couldn’t get enough of her haunting voice and a lead vocal or two by Isabelle won’t hurt the cause (but, then again, I am partial to female lead vocalists.)

The guitar work on All the Money Says is reminiscent of the lead guitars of the Allman Brothers and the vocals on Till Tomorrow cross over into a swirling, psychedelic Beatle-esque-ness. The hook from Sight Seein’ will keep you humming it in your head for days and the title song On Our Own is a haunting reminder that we are all alone. It also has a nice, but too-short, 70’s guitar rift on the back end. The best songs on the album are Sight Seeing’, All the Money Says, Till Tomorrow, and Dusk Till Dawn.

In the end On Our Own is a decidedly solid debut album from a new band that has yet to hit full stride though I think they will in the not too distant future. I look forward to their sophomore release.

4 stars out of 5

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

On Our Own Track Titles:
Mr. Farride 0:34
Patience 2:57
Sight Seein’ 3:44
All the Money Says 4:44
Lost and Found 3:35
You Only Keep the Love 3:33
Be Still 2:54
Till Tomorrow 3:43
On Our Own 2:54
Dusk Till Dawn 3:26
Sometimes I wonder 3:59
Total 35:19

Secret Season is -

Mark Moogalian : voice, guitars, percussion, edrumz

Isabelle Risacher : voice, keyboards, flute

Album blurb:


Franco American alternative music duo with pop, rock and blues influences. The lyrics are original, poetic, the melodies are rhythmic and airy: eclectic guitars, sober and mysterious keyboards, beautiful vocal harmonies.

Additional Reading /Listening:

Secret Season on iTunes

On Our Own samples

ReverbNation Page

No comments: