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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Secrets - 1983 Everyone's A Spy
Secrets - 1983 Everyone's A Spy

ARTIST: Secrets
ALBUM: Everyone's A Spy
LABEL: Walk On Water
YEAR: 1983


LINEUP: Carl Morgan - vocals, guitars * Ron Stirm - keyboards * Mark Oakes - bass * Rico Sardelli - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Promises * 02 No Easy Life * 03 So Much Better With You * 04 When You're Not Here * 05 In Mexico * 06 Last Man On Earth * 07 Feels So Right * 08 Secrets * 09 On The Water * 10 Don't Let It Waste Away * 11 Rocket Sled

Reviewed in issue 11 of AOR Classics, I thought it was about time to unleash this surprise packet upon the unsuspecting masses. Secrets' one and only album 'Everyone's A Spy' is typical of the genre during the early 80's. This is quite a hamfisted affair, in much the same mould as Air Raid, 707, Thrills and Trillion's first LP. It's got an indie feel about it, no secret that the four band members produced the whole affair. It's unclear where this quartet originate from (hopefully one of them might read this review one day and let us know), but whatever the case, they left behind a decent attempt at pomp!

The Songs
For a bunch of no-names, these guys have studied hard at the altar of Air Raid's Arthur Offen it would seem, the brash often tough sounding style of pomp flows between stinging guitar lines, big brash drumwork, again similar to the aforementioned bands, plus the delicate piano work which laces itself like an ivory veil throughout the tunes here. Let's move through the song list shall we?

The guitar and piano interplay is tightly woven on the lead off track 'Promises'. It's a hard hitting tune, with cascading keyboards and Kevin Russell like solos, as if 707 were indeed resurrected. Nice.. 'No Easy Life' punches out in a similar fashion to X-15 and 707 combined. The song is a commercial guitar rocker, a template which has seen other bands undertake similar ventures during the same timeframe. Ron Stirm gets to spend some quality time at the piano for 'So Much Better With You', mid tempo balladry though a trifle heavy handed if you ask me. Breezy keyboards lead the way on 'When You're Not Here', making for a happy sounding affair. Not quite Pablo Cruise, as the guitars tend to overshadow things slightly. 'In Mexico' tries to reflect the location in the music, again, I'm sure Pablo Cruise could've done a better job, and by now, those drum fills from Rico Sardelli are getting a little tiresome. Finally, Secrets hit paydirt, with a decent pomp track at long last called 'Last Man On Earth'. Sounding like Groundstar on high alert, with guitars rollicking across the ionosphere, the band are sounding at long last what their reputation has made them out to be. The heavy-handed sound on 'Feels So Right' is in the center-zone of pomp central, swirling keys a la Bluebeard and Angel, stabbing pianos that every decent pomp band of the era was employing.. aah now we have come to life! Carl Morgan decides to up the ante with his rhythm guitar on 'Secrets', the rest of the band dropping in behind like a squadron of fighter pilots, with everyone on condition red. You hear swirling and phasing synths, while the guitar lines sound as if they've been stolen right out of the NWOBHM movement! Ron Stirm dominates the soundscape on 'On The Water', with keyboards all over the show. Secrets present a thinner sound here, like Teaze in places, though the keys fill it out. 'Don't Let It Waste Away' is the longest song on the album, at a mere 4 and half minutes, yet this one has the makings of a melodramatic epic. In reality it's not, but it does end up having balladic moments. The closer 'Rocket Sled' is a fun time rocker, sounding like early Helix funnily enough. The band do sound as if they want to 'break out' via their rocket-sled, according to the lyrics. Perhaps this lot do come from Canada?

In Summary
The band suffered from attention span drift during the early part of this album, but they got back on track by the half way mark. This LP goes for funny money - that's if you see if for sale on Ebay. There is a copy up for grabs at the website, going for about US$100, good luck if you're interested in buying it! Those of you into late 70's or early 80's hard rock/pomp, then Secrets should fill the bill. So if you'e out there (Carl, Ron, Mark or Rico), drop us a line, and let us in on your secret!

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#1 | swazi on January 04 2010 13:04:39
Sounds very interesting, but WOW ... $99.99 over at! GOSH!
#2 | gdazegod on January 04 2010 13:59:02
Dunno if it's worth 100 bucks. No doubt some sucker will buy it. I hope it wasn't because he/she read this review. If so, I want a cut! shop
#3 | swazi on January 04 2010 16:28:57
Well, if you could upload the tracks one day, it would be awesome .... thanks in advance! *blushing*
#4 | gdazegod on January 07 2010 00:33:12
For members only..

#5 | swazi on January 08 2010 16:40:49
Nice little forgotten gem this. I really like it! It would deserve a reissue on CD, me thinks ...
#6 | oakesm on February 27 2010 04:15:11
I am the bass player, Mark Oakes. Just found this tonight on a search. I very much appreciate the good words about our music. Yes, we are all a lot older now but we 4 still live close to each other and all still play. We are all in Central Texas where we recorded the album so many years ago. I have been trying to convince the other 3 to have an anniversary still might happen but slowly. If any of you know the music scene in the San Francisco bay area, Ron, the keyboard player and I were in a very successful local band named Fielding Mellish. All original music. Wow! $100.00 an album huh? I have at least 50 unopened vinyls. I have copied over to CD but not professionally. Love to have dialogue with anyone interested. Thanks again.
#7 | gdazegod on February 27 2010 06:35:24
Thanks very much Mark. Much appreciated. I gathered you guys must have been a Texas band as you were mentioned at Rockadrome which I believe to be a Texan site, related to Monster Records, also from Texas. BTW Mark, if you have unopened vinyl, it would pay to sell them quick, just in case someone wants to quiz you guys about reissuing this on CD! lol..
#8 | swazi on February 28 2010 00:23:04
Yeah, please give us a reissue, Mark! Wink
#9 | ThomasCoastline on December 26 2013 14:32:23
Listened to this rare AOR/Pomp album again. Really nice twin guitar, Thin Lizzy style in especially the great song 'When You're Not Here'.
#10 | super80boy on May 31 2015 17:34:02
I remember buying this album as a 'Blind Buy' about 10 years ago. From looking at the front and back cover, I had high hopes. Obviously I was quite happy after I had a chance to spin this private gem. Just spun it again and it definitely delivers on what the reviews state. 'Last Man On Earth' and 'Feels So Right' are stellar with the keyboard/guitar interplay and infectious choruses. AOR Classics ended up giving it a 9/10! As of this comment, Rockadrome has a copy for sale, wonder if it's the same one from 2010..probably. Anyway, a stout melodic pomp rock affair this is, all the way.
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