Thursday 31 May 2012

Secret Rivals - Make Do And Mend (Part 2)

EP review by KevW

Oxford trio Secret Rivals have done pretty well over the past year or two. Their handful of singles and a mini-album have seen them picking up play on a number of alternative music shows and landing them a slot of Bestival last summer. Their new EP is something of a mixture; a hybrid of indie, pop and rock styles. Single 'Once More With Heart' is a fairly routine run through of spiky guitar music with boy/girl vocals. It's a bit like Idlewild ditching Roddy Woomble in favour of him and her from Los Campesinos!. While it's certainly attention grabbing and decent enough, it's too routine to be considered the best track here.

That accolade goes to the marvellously agitated and melodic 'The Part That Kills' where those dual vocals really shine and combine brilliantly with some woven guitar lines. It gives them a more unique sound, less easily compared to the work of other bands. The guitar is allowed to roam free again on 'I Hope She Knows'; it's a sound that works wonderfully for them. 'I Know Something' also strays away from a conventional formula and is all the better for it, and the title-track is a sweet and tender acoustic song that brings a subtle end the EP. There are some neat touches from Secret Rivals on this EP, and it's when they're allowed to be themselves, resisting the temptation to follow where others have already trodden, that they sound best of all.

Secret Rivals' website

Buy the EP

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