Once upon a time, there was a band called My Favorite that released some of the finest pop music ever heard by mortal ears, crafting beautiful ballads to teen alienation and unrequited love while musically, evoking the greats (e.g., The Smiths, New Order, The Cure). The band revolved around the duo of singer/songwriter Michael Grace Jr. and vocalist Andrea Vaughn, and when their relationship went south, the band’s fate was inevitable. I still find myself listening to The Happiest Days of Our Lives with some frequency, wondering what might have been had things not soured.
And now, Grace has emerged with his new band, The Secret History. He’s partnered with another female chanteuse — Lisa Ronson, daughter of David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson — and has recorded a four-song EP entitled Desolation Town. And in a rather meta move, the EP is actually the first chapter of a “mope rock opera” concerning a fictional band called “The Haunted Hearts” that is inspired, in part, by the dissolution of My Favorite and Grace’s relationship with Vaughn.
You can hear the first single from the EP, “It’s Not The End of The World, Jonah”, and while it’s not all that dissimilar from Grace’s work with My Favorite — the lyrics are still as pointed as ever, and the melodies still plenty catchy — the early ‘80s new-wave/post-punk influence is less pronounced. Instead, the band opts for a more swirling, rollicking sound of clashing guitars, organs, and trumpets.
Desolation Town is currently out on Le Grand Magistery.