Review: Secret Space/The Flats, split

Posted 2 years ago by Joel Funk

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’re no stranger to a split seven-inch. This type of release has become incredibly commonplace in our little corner of the music industry, and it’s not hard to see why. Reasons range from being included as part of a tour package to just having a handful of songs that you’re itching to release before they start to really work on new material. Splits are at their best when there’s one of the following: a level of sonic cohesion or a sincere feeling of comradery between each artist.

In the case of Secret Space and The Flats, both of which hail from Ohio and are responsible for their own brand of lush and dreamy rock music, we’re fortunate enough to have the sum of these factors working together on their recently released split for Memory Music.

Secret Space is still fresh on the tails of their self-titled debut, and their half of this split is already building off of that. The dense, atmospheric rock that was the backbone of ‘Secret Space’ was given a little room to breathe and a little time to age. Their contribution to the split, a song called “The Window Room,” seemingly shows off some softer edges before eventually erupting into a full groundswell around the lines “Our kingdoms come/your days begun/mine starts at noon/the window room.” It’s around the tail end of this that we’re met with a crashing of guitar and drums, with the vocals at peak delivery making you feel both a sense of catharsis and anxiety. If nothing else, “The Window Room” has cemented the Secret Space sound.

In the wake of the groundswell, The Flats have delivered something somber with “Machinery.” The sounds of an organ and some minimalistic strumming make up the backbone of the first forty seconds of the song before things pick up, and we’re delivered an incredible pop rock jam. It’s not that far a stretch to compare this song to anything off of Third Eye Blind’s self-titled. The songwriting is nearly there — all that’s missing is a touch of self-deprecative bite. This shouldn’t come as a shock to those of you that are familiar with their incredible debut album, ‘Liberation & The House In Blue.’ That release showed a band with promise, and “Machinery” is that band delivering on it.

The only fault I can find with this split comes in its brevity. Secret Space and The Flats each only contributed one song, and each of those songs has left me itching to hear more from them in the immediate future. Will Yip’s Memory Music is the perfect home for something like this release, and here’s to hoping that because it’s an imprint of Run For Cover Records, kids will discover and fall in love with both of these incredible bands.