Composing a diary of bohemian and bourgeois life, filtered through a twee-pop lens, defines Long Island City band The Secret History. Their second full-length, “Americans Singing in the Dark,” paints character studies and love with a polished, orchestral production - a lighter turn from the ghost stories and “crisis-pop” of 2010’s, “The World That Never Was” - which was our CD of the Month at the time.
Moody influences like the Smiths and Lou Reed still show in moments of songwriter and lead guitarist Michael Grace Jr.’s lyrics, but rising synth chords, jangly guitars and upbeat drums create a wistful pop sheen. Lead singer Lisa Ronson (daughter of Bowie-Morrissey-Mellencamp riffmaster Mick Ronson) sings smooth, mid-volume pop that runs from moments of early ‘80s Blondie or Linda Ronstadt to slower pleading-over-tambourines a la The Cranberries. Grace Jr.’s turn at the mic is kissing cousin to his friend Kip from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
Since Ronson moved to London, the band plays stateside without her and raises money on Kickstarter to book shows on the other side of the pond.
“Americans Singing in the Dark” drops June 18 on Cloudberry Records. The record release party is tonight, June 5, at Glasslands. Listen to a single, “The Age of Victoria,” streaming below. - Bianca Seidman