Nashville’s Secret Club have three major things going for them right away on this album: the name of it is Apocalypse Meow, for heaven’s sake; the entire album seems to be predicated around the theme of “dirtbags”; and they have a theme song. If you’re in a band, and you don’t have a theme song, rethink your priorities and write one immediately. It’s also got one of my favorite rhymes ever, “It’s Armageddon / if you’re not home by eleven” – that’s so good it makes me mad that no one else already thought of that.
We first got acquainted with Secret Club when they released their awesome song “Why Can’t Friends Just Kiss on the Lips Sometimes?” That may not be a completely dirtbag sentiment, but it probably fits in: they’re not trying to be tied down, man! They just want a little makeout session. For extra dirtbag points, the makeout session could occur behind the dumpsters of the strip club, but who knows? Maybe it’s super sweet in a field full of wildflowers.
And speaking of strip clubs, we’ve got ’em, in the title track, the theme song, “Secret Club.” The premise is that there’s a secret club of people who know someone else’s dirty little secret, but they can’t talk about it – like if, say, your best friend’s sister is stripping and he doesn’t know about it. You can’t very well tell him, right?
So, ok, that’s dirtbaggery. And so is passing out with 40s in your hands, in “I Do What I Want” (good luck not saying that in a Cartman voice – “whatevah! Whatevah! I do what I want!”). So is getting high to deal with Ohio (“Toledo”). And so is having a racist girlfriend you can’t break up with because her dad will kill you (“Circle K”). That song gave me problems at first, because come on, you can’t have the shout-along chorus be “K! K! K!” I can’t get behind a bar full of people hollering that out, even if the song is in jest. But the premise of the song is in jest; consider it like the Dictators’ “Master Race Rock.” If you don’t listen closely, you might think they mean it, but that’s the opposite of what the song is actually about. I still think they should maybe not play it live, though.
They slow it down some, too, but that doesn’t lose any of the lost kid truculence for being slow. “My Friend Angie” does this amazingly; it’s a paean to… maybe guitarist Angela Plake, or maybe another Angie, who is “the baddest of asses” and stays up late wearing black and being tough as nails, but it sounds like a lullaby. Um, but maybe a lullabye for adults. Those little hype-man interjections (“Tell ’em what you’re like, Annnnngie”) are delivered in a sexy snarl turned way down to an almost soporific level… almost.
The sound? The sound is dirtbag rock, obviously. It’s dark, it can be fuzzy and messy, it has a thumping beat, it’s delivered with a curled-lip sneer. It’s got some noticeable surf elements, but like maybe they listened to the Ramones a lot before picking up a surfboard. And then decided not to go surfing anyway because that’s for hippies.
Apocalypse Meow comes out June 16. No doubt when it comes out, they’ll tell you where you can get your grubby little hands on it, via one or more of these fine pieces of internet. In the meantime, I’m sure there are some dirtbag-approved activities you can do to pass the time. Grow a blond mustache and play horseshoes in jean shorts, or something.