Official Secrets Act - Understanding Electricity
What with all this talk of the G2 summit in London, it was slightly unnerving to receive an email headed Official Secrets Act. The news had said that security was tight in the capital, maybe they’d got me mixed up with the traveller folk on the TV - still dressed in their New Model Army t-shirts, banging on about capitalism and state smashing - “THEY’RE watching us! We should be watching THEM”, one Leveller-alike proclaimed. My fear gets the better of me and I confess, “Alright, it was me, I did go to see Back To The Planet, I did, but I was young, there was drugs…I got confused…I lost my senses…I’m sorry!” Breaking down, my capture is short lived as the email opens. Oh, the BAND Official Secrets Act, not the law thing? The sense of relief in all encompassing as I press play.
I loved ‘The Girl From The BBC’ when I first heard it a while back, it had shades of indie and pop mixed with a post-punky spoon, a big catchy hook and most of all, sounded completely British. The rest of Understanding Electricity doesn’t disappoint on that level, undoubtedly, it has ransacked plenty of peoples back catalogues, but who hasn’t? It’s what you do with it that will determine your judgement in this day and age.
Right from the start it’s clear that something a little bit special is happening here as ‘Mainstream’ lets loose with its perfectly crafted indie-pop and addictive melodies. Imagine the White Lies munching on Ecstacy and you’re on the right road, this is no time to mourn, it’s time to enjoy life! The magnificent ‘So Tomorrow’ owes a small debt to Franz Ferdinand, their influence here is clear, from the stop/start nature of the track to its catchy guitar refrain. I’m willing to wager that it’s a monster live.
There is an air of 80’s nostalgia around ‘Hold The Line’ - they even names check Tears For Fears and Japan throughout - this is a band that clearly wear their influences on the their sleeves. The epic ’Momentary Sanctuary’ visits the borders of space-rock via a healthy dose of Muse, the chorus soaring to the moon before descending back to Earth in a rocket ship full of lush indie guitars that wind the song down perfectly.
In Understanding Electricity, Official Secrets Act have made a dazzling album that deserves to be heaped with praise. Even as I write, I can’t resist humming the ludicrously contagious ‘Bloodsport’, an electro inspired behemoth that Depeche Mode would’ve been proud of. This album is well written, stylishly performed and packed to the brim with glorious tunes to brighten up your day. Consider Understanding Electricity highly recommended.