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Secret Cities: Strange Hearts

A-

Secret Cities

Album: Strange Hearts
Label: Western Vinyl

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Most of the recent batch of lo-fi, ’60s-inspired albums have studiously recreated the aesthetics of classic psych-pop, but Secret Cities actually captures the innocence and beauty of that music on the new Strange Hearts. Striking a perfect balance of subdued and rousing moments, Strange Hearts is built on a foundation of hypnotically affecting harmonies that echo through a haze of reverb, rolling riffs, and muted drums. “Always Friends” opens with a drifting, vibrant beach-rock throwdown that picks up steam with “No Pressure,” which whirls along with a fun Caribbean vibe that’s both stimulating and relaxing, like a great vacation should be. On the softer side, “The Park” rides a wind of airy vocals into an expansive, moving arrangement. With its unadorned production and blissfully efficient 30-minute running time, Secret Cities is a rich, uniformly charming pastiche. There’s an upbeat, ramshackle liveliness to it all that feels like awakening from a cold, dreamy slumber.