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Built on Secrets - Reflections (Japanese Edition) Album Cover

Built on Secrets - Reflections (Japanese Edition)

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8.5
Built on Secrets - Reflections (Japanese Edition)
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: December 22, 2010
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
This review is something that’s been circling around in my head for a few months now. I couldn’t quite figure out how to really express my love for this release and honor it while still being fair and detailed. I happened upon their debut 2010 release, Reflections, during a last.fm recommendations hunt, and it was everything I was desperately looking for previously. Fast forward to nine months later, and the exclusive (and very elusive) Japanese version is released, with four bonus tracks. Thanks to Built on Secrets’ guitarist/vocalist Eli Menezes’ generosity, I’m privileged enough to be able to critique it.

Luke Steel’s and Eli Menezes' double-barreled anthemic vocals are best featured in the dual exchanges found at the start and end of “Beyond the Shadows”. I find myself consistently pressured to sing along every single time I listen. Their power is without doubt the most recognizable and lasting aspect of the EP, exhaled far and soaring high in its expanse like vast gales of oxygen. Furiously unrelenting riffs and hooks follow closely, lighting and consuming the winds into an explosively melodic inferno. Between the vocals and guitars, there isn’t once a moment on this EP where the beautifully executed melodies cease to capture your attention with their constant outpouring. The percussion remains as constant and aggressive as the guitars, laying a deep and heavy foundation with epic rolls, fills, and perfect tempo shifts. The instances when the guitars ebb are even more impressive, leaving room for beautiful synthesizer melodies and tones to better accompany Luke and Eli’s vocal prowess. The most distinguished of these is at the bridge of “Take Control”, where Luke’s vocals and a quickly repeated synthesizer melody dance around each other in flawless harmony.

To better demonstrate this point, the extra tracks featured on the Japanese edition of Reflections are crucial to take into consideration, which is part of the reason why I requested to write about this version of the EP. Being excluded, they take a few steps back from what Built on Secrets have masterfully reanimated with the production of the original version: the charging and regal melodic rock that Saosin fans around the globe have been craving since 2006 after their colossal flop in 2009. In these next few tracks, we begin to have a clear view of each instrument’s layer, and by extension, each musician’s talents, as well as the band’s varying influences.

I have to hand it to Eli for using his production skills to make these added tracks as robust and revealing as they are, not to mention the rest of the EP. Thankfully, the band decided to entirely redo them rather than slap the demo versions from their very first EP to the end and call it done. The extension starts with a second interlude, “As Far as the East Is to the West”, which contains two of the major trip-ups the band made with this release. Either one or both of the interludes could have been combined with the tracks they introduce. Secondly, it contains a very high dose of pitch correction, extremely superfluous despite its intentions for improving effect. As breathtaking as Eli’s voice is when standing alone, I can’t fathom why he decided to add such an unnecessarily distorting change to it.

Outweighing these small details, we find that Built on Secrets have played a few cards well from their fellow Australians, Closure in Moscow and We Are The Emergency. The guitars take some of the pressure off, allowing for more ambient vocal-centric moments like the second half of the first verse in “Canvases”, the female vocals and piano section in “Oh! Akira”, and the opening bells chiming in “As Far As the East Is to the West”. Though the lyrics throughout the EP aren’t very eloquent and seem cliché at first impression, their true significance lies in the metaphors they hold.

Built on Secrets is the magnificent phoenix that has risen from the ashes of Saosin, yet they have haplessly gone mostly unnoticed in their endeavors. Hopefully I put a dent in that with this review. Some have placed Conditions as the next successor, but their progression between their initial EP and album has proven them to take on a markedly softer sound. In contrast, Built on Secrets does everything Saosin did with their self-titled better—more complex percussion, more complimentary tones and synth melody, the addition of softly ambient rests, guitars that hold the same strength without becoming homogeneous, and last but most definitely not least, not just one, but two stellar vocalists. With enough attention, this band will be going places. Give it to them.

Recommended If You LikeSaosin, Anberlin, Secret and Whisper, Closure in Moscow, Capulet, Conditions
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 26
02:27 AM on 02/21/11
#2
GemKM
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I listen to this EP at least once a week I would say. I a so so stoked on how talented these guys are, and I can't wait for our schedules to line up so I can see them belt this stuff out live some day.

It's so big and heavy, but it's soft and delicate. Soaring vocals, intricate melodies and a stomping low end. It's everything I could as for - stellar.
02:44 PM on 02/21/11
#3
Sean Rizzo
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I listen to this EP at least once a week I would say. I a so so stoked on how talented these guys are, and I can't wait for our schedules to line up so I can see them belt this stuff out live some day.

It's so big and heavy, but it's soft and delicate. Soaring vocals, intricate melodies and a stomping low end. It's everything I could as for - stellar.
That's exactly how I think of it too. I've been playing them a lot lately.
10:33 PM on 02/21/11
#4
SwertsOnALog
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Saw this review from their Facebook post. I love this band. I think I need to order this cd before its too late.
10:37 AM on 02/23/11
#5
Sean Rizzo
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Saw this review from their Facebook post. I love this band. I think I need to order this cd before its too late.
Yeah dude, that was my other big motivation for requesting it. Hahaha. The chances of getting one of those stateside are insanely slim.
12:06 PM on 02/23/11
#6
SwertsOnALog
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Yeah dude, that was my other big motivation for requesting it. Hahaha. The chances of getting one of those stateside are insanely slim.

Haha if they blow up, we can be the only ones with copies of it and everyone will envy us haha
12:11 PM on 02/23/11
#7
Sean Rizzo
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Haha if they blow up, we can be the only ones with copies of it and everyone will envy us haha
That would be hilarious. Have you ordered one yet?
03:12 PM on 02/23/11
#8
SwertsOnALog
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That would be hilarious. Have you ordered one yet?
I really want to, but i don't know if i can afford $27 bucks after shipping... thats a lot for 1 cd. :(
03:15 PM on 02/23/11
#9
Sean Rizzo
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I really want to, but i don't know if i can afford $27 bucks after shipping... thats a lot for 1 cd. :(
That reminds me of when I was prepared to shell out 30 for Translating The Name.....then I saw that they put up copies on smartpunk periodically. I wasn't too optimistic but to my great surprise they had some! $7.
04:00 PM on 02/23/11
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That reminds me of when I was prepared to shell out 30 for Translating The Name.....then I saw that they put up copies on smartpunk periodically. I wasn't too optimistic but to my great surprise they had some! $7.
do you talk to these guys at all? see if theres a way to not pay as much as 4 cds on amazon for this one cd haha
04:02 PM on 02/23/11
Sean Rizzo
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do you talk to these guys at all? see if theres a way to not pay as much as 4 cds on amazon for this one cd haha
Yeah, I have been. Just for the review though. If you'd like, you can ask them for a copy in exchange for a write-up or something. Their email is builtonsecrets@hotmail.com
05:19 PM on 02/23/11
SwertsOnALog
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Yeah, I have been. Just for the review though. If you'd like, you can ask them for a copy in exchange for a write-up or something. Their email is builtonsecrets@hotmail.com
You already covered AP and its the only site i look at so I can't really do a writeup haha I'll just order it and hope i don't hate myself later. Are the extra tracks worth it? I loved the original ones from the EP.
05:21 PM on 02/23/11
Sean Rizzo
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You already covered AP and its the only site i look at so I can't really do a writeup haha I'll just order it and hope i don't hate myself later. Are the extra tracks worth it? I loved the original ones from the EP.
Yeah they are. It shows BoS's more creative/experimental side.
05:26 PM on 02/23/11
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Yeah they are. It shows BoS's more creative/experimental side.
I can't wait for that full length either. Damn its gonna be good.
05:30 PM on 02/23/11
Sean Rizzo
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I can't wait for that full length either. Damn its gonna be good.
Eli told me they're going to focus on the dual vocals more with it.

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