Liam Singer's debut disc The Empty Heart Of The Chameleon came out a couple years back and marked him as a young singer/songwriter to keep an eye on as he created a compelling album largely out of piano and vocals with a touch of theremin. This time out, he's expanded his musical palette considerably, and the result is a lush release that breathes with all of the aforementioned elements, as well as vibraphone, church organ, prepared piano, and some studio tinkering. His classically-tinged songs have reference points as varied as Philip Glass and Sufjan Stevens, while moving in their own unique directions as well.
Although it's not specified as one, Our Secret Lies Beneath The Creek feels somewhat like a concept album, with short interlude tracks providing odd little breaks in an album that otherwise flows together in a logical way (mostly because it's largely piano-driven). After the Glass-esque opener of "The Hero, The Cube, And The Flower," the disc starts off nicely with "Losing Teeth." Singer is joined by background vocalists on the jaunty piece as backwards loops tickle and punctuate the track while some subtle vibes make it sparkle even more. "One Breath Out" is even more powerful, with vigorous cascading piano lines flowing beautifully under breathy lyrics that touch on politics in subtle ways.
The aforementioned interlude tracks all have the prefix of "travelogue" and while they're not so over-the-top that they completely throw the album off course, their operatic female vocals and overly dramatic style definitely make them stand out. Comprised of nothing but minimalism-influenced church organ, the stuttering "Left Ventricle / Tone Clusters" is another track that threatens to feel a bit out of place, but somehow fits into the more cinematic and varied middle section of the disc.
Split nearly evenly between instrumental and vocal tracks, the album reaches a high point during the latter half with the lovely (but short) "If You Awoke (First Ascension)" as Singer again teams up with a female vocalist for some beautiful harmonies. "Razor Wire (Second Ascension)" follows, and the sparse instrumental mixes some nice prepared piano and processed sounds in an open and affecting way. With fourteen tracks running just over thirty five minutes, Our Secret Lies Beneath The Creek doesn't dwell on any song for too long, and is a very solid second album from the young singer songwriter.