I was lulled into a false sense of security/boredom by the soft piano of single ‘Progress,’ not sure if I really needed to listen to another band that was trying to make me curl up in ball and cry. So it scared me a bit when the synths and the vocoder came in and joined the swooning strings to make one of those sad but epic songs that would probably get played in Spiderman when Mary-Jane is about to fall of a building and into a giant blender and he realises he can’t save her in time. Not the most interesting song ever, but the vocalist had a lot of conviction I suppose, although it did make it seem like he was taking it a bit too seriously.
B-side ‘My Secret Plan’ was almost the opposite. The singer’s single line of ‘I have a secret plan to make all of you happy’ was repeated with a Mark E. Smith mysterious intensity over what started as Blonde Redhead/Mogwai chiming guitars and eventually dissolved into a crazy distorted fuzz of discordant screams and Russell from Bloc Party’s effect pedal overdrive.
For all the boredom of the actual single the b-side’s experimental shoegaze feel showcased a much better side of the band, one that goes beyond just being able to play their instruments – it was intriguing and demonstrated some actual musical vision. It’s a little hard to understand why they would make a pretty standard song like ‘Progress’ and then have it as the single when they can create hypnotic soundscapes like ‘My Secret Plan’ instead.