August 17, 2010 - Triple Crown
“I’m feeling something changing deep inside me,” Luis Dubuc sings on “Stop!” one of the highlight cuts on the Secret Handshake’s fourth studio album. Up until this point, Dubuc had built his name on a techno-infused dance-pop sound that heavily relied on pulsating synths, dancey overtones and some seriously digitized vocals, but, true to his inner premonitions, Dubuc has effectively thrown that sound away on Night & Day, instead choosing to unearth ’60s Motown soul. No longer dressed up with computerized bells and whistles and drenched with layers of Pro Tools effects, Dubuc’s songwriting takes a much more organic approach: Bursting horns, rollicking piano and a chorus of soulful background vocals pepper tracks like “Domino” and “Woman,” while “Stop!” wouldn’t really seem out of place next to Dubuc’s older material, horn swells and all. Even though Night & Day might turn younger listeners onto the solid-gold sounds of yesteryear (much like Panic At The Disco’s Pretty. Odd. acted as a psychedelic-pop gateway drug for the MySpace generation), this sort of sound is probably low on the list for a widespread revival. Still, releasing a Motown record in the midst of a techno-pop storm is a risky move, but Night & Day shows that Dubuc has the skills to pull it off.