A little over a year ago, we were introduced to a young, aspiring band of Chicago men known as The Fold by way of their Tooth & Nail debut This Too Shall Pass. With that record, they offered a glimpse into what a reinvented pop/rock genre could look like. It was fun, thoughtful, catchy, sweet, and an all around most enjoyable listen.
Now they present us with Secrets Keep You Sick, a decisively more contemplative record. Though some of it still resembles their first album, it breathes a lot more than the last record did, slowing down the pace on much more than just one occasion. It's up for debate whether these turns are calculated or if Secret Keep You Sick is just one really sporadic piece of work.
The first four tracks have the "sing along" factor that made This Too Shall Pass so enjoyable, and they could have probably fit on that same record nicely. Ironically, the pace is drastically reduced on the next track "Faster Still," which has a bit of an experimental feel to it, with its programmed drum beat and synth. The song eventually builds up to a rousing conclusion, which is new for The Fold, definitely different and most intriguing.
A somewhat corny interlude is attached to the end of the track, containing the classic "God, if you can hear me…" lyric, but thankfully it is justified by the song it leads into. Musically, "Closer" is probably the most exciting and versatile track on the record, talking about a love that slipped away. It keeps things interesting and continually changes them up throughout its duration.
"Down in Doubt and Living Without" is normal, catchy Fold fare, and leads into "Hey Rebekah," another pace change for Secrets…. It's very nearly a ballad, talking about the hardships of life on the road with a loved one back at home. In the process, it paints a very realistic, somber picture. A little over the top, but still well done.
"Catastrophe!" is more of what we've come to expect from The Fold, and the next track, "Beside You Now," is anything but, as it bears a distinct 80's pop flavor. The final song on the album, "Revisited," ends the record on a winning note. It speaks directly to a lost loved one, specifically lead vocalist Dan Castady's best friend who committed suicide a few years ago, and makes bold statements in hopes to find closure on the subject of their eternal destination. It's a pretty gritty subject to hear put to music the way it is, but it works.
With the final track as proof, Secrets Keep You Sick has its moments, and, indeed, it's another solid record from the guys. But at the end of the day, when I want to stick record from The Fold on, I think I'm still going to grab their debut. That said, however, songs like "Closure" have my attention, and there's a whole lot to like about Secrets Keep You Sick. Maturity is evident and it definitely warrants a listen, if not a purchase.- Review date: 5/20/07, written by Josh Taylor
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