By a certain age, hearing wide-eyed kids making "trippy" music begins to fray one's patience. But then comes the occasional band with real smarts lurking and maybe smirking behind the smoky haze and glassy-eyed gazes. Chicago's Secret Colours is one of those. The sextet's latest "EP3" (), a fine five-song follow-up to its 2010 self-titled debut, drones seductively with hallucinogenic grooves but enough comfy pop hooks to keep us from slipping into a bad trip.
Calmly composed and carefully played, the songs on "EP3" hearken to numerous touchstones from '60s psychedelia and the '90s rhythmic revival of it. But the patient, almost baroque Secret Colours (Tommy Evans, Dave Stach, Dylan Olson, Justin Frederick, Margaret Albright and newcomer Nate Wiese) aren't painting by numbers.
"Carry My Soul" is a prayer -- an expression of malaise and worry well beyond these players' years -- rich with gospel organ and a humming strum, as if the Jesus & Mary Chain had found actual religion (and done so circa 1966). "Legends of Love" clomps with a funky "Nuggets" groove but is laced with delicious guitar flourishes, both chimey electric and Stones-y acoustic. Secret Colours excels on the long-players, and by the fourth minute in this one the tension's ready to snap as the bongos come in, but singer Evans' seemingly lazy delivery never gets up and lunges for it -- which is a good thing. The comparisons to Primal Scream are understandable, but this is all more of a lovely primal sigh.