The Sheila Divine

Secret Society

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Apparently the Sheila Divine's final release -- the band announced their breakup in early 2003 -- the 25-minute, six-track EP is the culmination of the group's conflation of an unabashed love of 120 Minutes-era alternative pop/rock and Weezer-circa-Pinkerton pop-emo. Even more than on previous albums like The New Parade, singer-guitarist Aaron Perrino wears his Echo and the Bunnymen/Smiths/Gene Loves Jezebel/Siouxsie and the Banshees/Cure influences proudly, stocking each song with the kind of reverb-heavy guitar riffs, doom-laden lyrics, and politely anguished vocals familiar to generations of black-clad high school students. (The song "Dramatica" in this context sounds like a sly bit of self-deprecation.) The production is more full-bodied than on earlier records, replacing the occasional scratchiness of before with a more complex instrumental blend that's a much better foil for Perrino's booming, melodramatic vocals. Although Secret Society is an impressive record, it's difficult to see where the Sheila Divine could have gone from here, unless John Hughes started making teen-angst films again and needed somebody to write the soundtracks.

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