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The Close, It's a Secret to Everybody (Moodswing)
With It's a Secret to Everybody, the Close has produced a record that will let critics play endlessly with the album title, hoping to be the cleverest to discover this unknown band from Alabama. The Close deserves the attention -- and reviews devoid of cheap puns on "secret" or "close" -- because of its strong songwriting and urgent playing. The band, which occasionally sounds like a self-medicated Sonic Youth (even down to the split male and female vocals), creates and releases tension through varied dynamics and tempos. On "Paper Trail" the tension builds until we get a slight release, then it increases again. The transitions between the segments of the song are inventive, but natural, allowing for change without hurting the flow of "Paper Trail". While the best example, this song is also representative of the Close's songwriting style (no individual members are credited). The Close's knack for pacing also shows up in the record's sequencing. It's a Secret to Everybody moves from one song to the next artfully, building its frustrated mood while giving us breathing space just as we need it. When you've got an album with good songs in the proper order, there's no reason to hit "stop".