Lauren Hoffman’s excellent solo career has seen her join forces into a new persona and become The Secret Storm. With the first EP from the band, it feels very much like Hoffman is still the full on driving force and yet it feels like the reset button has been hit for a second act.
The titular track opens the four track EP and uses Lauren’s trademark minor key chord changes but immediately things feel fuller. The guitars are heavier and thicker. The drums feel slightly more pumped. The excellent string arrangement that gently underpins the melody is thicker. It feels like Hoffman’s brought her rock chick back and Higher Plain Music absolutely welcomes that. Nowhere’s that more apparent than in “Family Ghost” which has a rocking riff and the duelling cello and guitars really crash together and give you something to mosh to. The lyrics themselves are punchy and continue a light/dark theme that surrounds this EP and when paired with the music videos, everything has a far sinister tone underlying it than what you initially take the words for.
“I Just Broke Up With A Guy That Kinda Looks Like You” has a more pop rock feel and see’s one of the happier tracks outside of her last solo album she’s created. It has a step beat to it and an anthemic chorus that you can pub crawl sing along to and the big backing vocal chants and overall vibe is definitely a new direction for Lauren. “‘Til It Lasts” pushes a slight country twang and reminds me of Tanya Donelly. It feels grass rootsy, heartfelt but powerful. It’s a mid tempo ballad in power but with the tempo turned down a notch and that gives it body and flavour like a fine wine. Each listen gives you something new.
The Secret Storm is fascinating because Lauren Hoffman has pitched it just right as she tries out different tones and concepts in this short EP. It’s fresh enough to attract a new audience but it doesn’t move that far from her previous works and so older fans will lap the new material up too. What it goes to prove above that though is that Lauren continues to show just how versatile she is as a singer/songwriter/band member and that you are pretty much guaranteed a fantastic experience wherever she heads in the future.