Under Review

The Wet Secrets

Free Candy (Independent)

Review by Willa Bao

Upon seeing the words “Free candy,” I figuratively whipped my head around and said, “Where?!” It took me a second to realise that Free Candy is actually the name of Edmonton’s the Wet Secrets’ new LP. Despite no actual candy being offered, this album is still pretty sweet.

The first track, “Maybe We’ll Make a Plan,” sets the retro, garage tone of the album, with a relaxed intro and chirpy background vocals. “Sunshine” has ‘60s mod female backup vocals, which really do make the song feel like it’s drenched in sunshine. The bassline in “Kill My Love” could be something a slightly cheerier Muse would’ve cooked up—it has a cleaner quality to it. The rhythm in “Chains,” though not the same, reminds me of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” I think it’s the percussiveness. Or maybe I’m just strange.

I was surprised to learn that this five-piece band doesn’t have a single guitarist. It’s actually great because it allows for instruments that are typically supports to be in the forefront, notably the bass and the keys. Most songs have a prominent bassline, and throughout the album, almost all the keyboard effects and tones are utilized. Although, horn tones aren’t needed because there is in fact one trumpet and one trombone in the band. This hearty horn section adds dimension and provides a big sound. I imagine it’d also make for great live performances. The gritty vocals are very lo-fi, much like Arctic Monkeys though the background vocals are generally more retro-pop. The complementary, almost subtle drumming is perfect for this melding of instruments.

Besides the band’s unique instrument balance, another strength of the Wet Secrets is their seamless transitions between soft and laid back to outgoing and upbeat. In “Nightlife,” it goes from haunting vocal phrase repetitions to a synth-pop dance beat effortlessly. The only weakness is the unfortunate result of the heavy lo-fi recording usage. It distorts the vocals to a point where it becomes difficult to discern words. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an album worth chewing on.