Label: Western Vinyl Release date: 08/06/10 Link: Myspace The word masterpiece is thrown about all too often these days but grab your crash helmet and knee pads boys because here we go again. This album by the fairly enigmatic Secret Cities is a masterpiece. Yeah, its up there with the Mona Lisa, especially had da Vinci been more interested in creating ambient chamber pop albums that pay dues to Brian Wilson's peak as The Beach Boys creative genius than sketching prototype helicopters that would amaze idiots for centuries. Pink Graffiti is a ghostly album, like pop music from an abandoned town generated by youths with indifference towards their surroundings as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world. The music constantly sounds as if its coming from a distance, as if it were underwater or hanging about the gateway into some parallel universe. It has a sometimes almost childlike affection, all helping to create a consistently eerie atmosphere. While that's a stunning effect in itself, it helps that the quality of songwriting here is continually impressive. When it feels like the band have peaked and can't possibly do any better, the next song arrives to disprove that received logic. Pink Graffiti always manages to amaze. Its hard to imagine a more perfect example of the sort dreamy pop that Secret Cities have apparently mastered than the breezy 'Boyfriends' which name-checks Brian Wilson (whose influence is obvious) and yet they follow it up with the equally stunning 'Slacker'. There's plenty of other examples of simply jaw-dropping inspired pop music on Pink Graffiti too. Secret Cities are vaguely reminiscent of Deerhunter, in this instance in particular their album 'Microcastle', there's a definite similarity between the style of music, even if Secret Cities slow down more to reflect on surroundings. Its rare to find an album capable of such cohesive, frequently fantastic songwriting with ideas that come together so neatly too. Moments given over to experimentation have a healthy dose of self-awareness and never detract focus or begin to bore. Instrumental 'Wander' is a sombre piano-led piece that offers a short respite amongst the clatter of some John Cage style prepared piano, the songs here are very good but are packed with ideas and there's sometimes so much happening its difficult to fully comprehend so little intermissions like this are welcome enough. Pink Graffiti is an incredible pop album that should make Brian Wilson swell with pride, if he ever hears it. You might like it too. Photobucket