Armada Of Secrets launches their powerful track in the form of ‘Make Me Over’. Starting off with a subdued intensity of a grinding guitar track with anthemic level vocals and slowly building to the satisfying crescendo and continuing the sonic suspense throughout the song is an accomplishment in songwriting. ‘Make Me Over’ is one of those tracks that feels like gold and sounds like love when you give it that initial listen and gives you the energy needed and the ambition wanted to go out there and make something happen. Let them make you over.
Life submerges us all in its intensity. Some rise and some fall beneath waves of self-doubt and self-destruction. On ‘Make Me Over’ Armada of Secrets offer themselves to us at their most autobiographical. Caroline Kabera’s lyrics challenge the constant cloying desire we have to remodel ourselves and to escape into hypothetical new-selves because the grass always seems greener. Built around Carl Dawkins’ minimalistic bassline (contrary to his usual, more complex approach), the song crescendos towards its explosive choruses through subtle nuances in rhythm and color. Kabera’s voice is full-bodied, recalling the kind of soul-influenced vocals found in the nineties and early noughties sentimental dance classics. There are a heart-wrenching and life-affirming intensity to their performance, which the band describes as their simplest yet. ‘Make Me Over’ is a prayer for meaning, pining for an irrecoverable past and an unattainable future. It’s the sound of a band who feel every sentiment close to the bone. The song doesn’t fade out so much as stop, leaving its haunting chimes ringing in our ears long into the lingering silence beyond.
London’s Armada of Secrets is made up of vocalist Caroline Kabera and bassist Carl Dawkins. They met in music school after Kabera immigrated to London from Burundi. Carl then toured the world in a variety of bands, and Caroline kept her singing national while working hard for women’s care refuge charities – a cause close to her heart. They later reignited their explosive musical chemistry as Armada of Secrets. A rollicking drum-and-bass-driven power duo, marrying danceable post-punk with raw, soulful singing, and deeply affecting observational lyricism, their project is a heady and untameable mix, vital and undeniable, greater than the sum of its parts. They themselves have struggled to label the sound for years. Their closest approximation comes to ‘Post Punk Power Pop Alternative Dance Rock’ but at its core, they suspect it’s probably rock and soul, though they’re keen to hear what fans think. After going on hiatus when they finished writing ‘Make Me Over’, it took a chance re-listen to their tracks – with the encouragement of friends and fans – for them to come back and once more give their distinct life and light to the country’s indie scene.
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