The annual compilation from the indie-groove maestros Sonar Kollektiv features more of the same coffeehouse pop that last year's edition had, but some new bands and a delightful Feist cameo still make it a fine listen.
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.