Singer/songwriter Marc Farre self-releases his third album, his first in eight years, Secret Symphony. Like its predecessors, Unsafe Songs and Man on the Sun, it enlists the French-born, America-based Farre in the company of European-influenced musicians like Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, and Nick Cave, employing a sprechgesang style in a throaty voice over folk-rock arrangements to express highly poetic lyrics. "Harry...," the lead-off track (a revised version of "Harry Screams at the Sky" from Unsafe Songs) immediately shows that this time around Farre is more interested in rocking out (on the largely acoustic instruments, that is), and that he has a kinetic band behind him. Here and in subsequent songs the words can be impressionistic, but Farre sings and recites them with conviction. Perhaps reflecting his classical background, however, he is a bit more ethereal than his influences. His voice and approach may occasionally be mistaken for those of Cohen or Reed or Cave, but he is never as comically erotic or matter-of-factly vulgar or melodramatically gothic, respectively, as they can be. This is more tasteful art-house folk-rock, which means it lacks the surface impact of Farre's more commercial predecessors, though it can be just as compelling.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann