Lies and Fairy Tales arrives with still more unabashedly catchy songs from these local masters of feel-good summertime pop. While 2009's Secret Powers and the Electric Family Choir indulged in a rangy, jam-happy style, Lies and Fairy Tales is tight, shiny and contained. Most songs stay under the four-minute mark, and every chorus sets its hooks deep. Secret Powers settles easily into playlists packed with the current crop of Pet Sounds-inspired, sweet-toned indie pop bands, but its sound, anchored by Shmed Maynes' McCartney-esque keyboard, is more proudly retro than anything coming out of hipsterdom. It achieves a fine balance between the best elements of '60s and '70s pop and rock.
The power of Secret Powers lies in simplicity of approach. Simple may be an odd word for a band that threads complex and heavily layered harmonies through every song, both on instruments and vocals, but the ultimate effect, like that of the great Phil Specter megaproductions, is joyous simplicity: lyrics that paint idyllic pictures of summer evening romance and tree-swinging, lawn-lounging innocence sung to tunes that encourage humming. From the punchy "Tangerine" to the lush "I'm So in Love" and on through the darker territory of "The Lie," Lies and Fairy Tales is pure proud pop.
Secret Powers plays a CD release party at the Palace Saturday, March 20, at 9 PM with Reverend Slanky. Free.