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Various Artists

Secret Love 5

(Sonar Kollektiv; US: 21 Apr 2009; UK: 20 Oct 2008)

Another year, another compilation from the fine people at the Sonar Kollektiv record label. Much like last year’s volume four compilation, Secret Love 5 mines a lot of the laid-back, groove-oriented music that has very much become a part of the Sonar sound, with varying degrees of success. For every aurally exciting excursion like the Thief’s sampled-voice piano piece “Down, Down (Owusu Remix)”, we have more than a few subpar “Girl from Ipanema” knockoffs like Brent Cash’s forgettable “This Sea, These Waves”. Even the normally reliable Recloose donates a track (“Deeper Water (Eva Be’s Secret Lover Remix)”) that far too closely mirrors Secret Love 4‘s closing track “Loved” by Paul Weller so close in melodic structure that it’s hard not to call it a rip-off. However, there are some genuinely shining moments to be found here, chief among them: “I Feel Electric (Tiedeye Remix)” by the Rubies and featuring the lovely Leslie Feist. Over the track’s nearly nine-minute run time, a groove is slowly and carefully constructed, with Feist coming in only after the halfway mark and somehow coming across as a more badass version of Enya, making for one exciting sonic treat. There are some fantastic takeaways still to be found (Choir of Young Believers are assuredly a band to watch), but Secret Love 5 feels too much like a thematic photocopy of its predecessor, offering a lot of the same ups and downs as the last one did but not adding much new to the mix.


Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.

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