Secret Affair

  • Secret Affair
  • Glory Boys (Sire) 1979 
  • Behind Closed Doors (Sire) 1980 
  • Business as Usual (UK I Spy/Arista) 1982 
  • The Peel Sessions EP (UK Strange Fruit) 1988 

Secret Affair were the mod revival’s top dogs because they forged a distinctive sound that didn’t simply pick up where the Jam (or Who) left off. Ian Page’s mellifluous vocals and Dave Cairns’ plangent guitars spearheaded the band’s enthusiastic drive, hampered only by occasionally stiff drumming; the consistently above-average tunes of Glory Boys get an extra fillip by the sporadic addition of horns. What grates, though, is the pushy, overstated rhetoric, especially in light of the would-be movement’s brief, faddish existence.

The instrumental attack on Behind Closed Doors is tighter and the lyrics — though still pretentious — arty on a more personal level. At least half of the songs are excellent. By the time of Business as Usual, though, the Affair was a big fish in an evaporated neo-mod pond. The group could hardly maintain its self-important image, and with it went the creative spark. The album, while smoother than ever before, is as journeyman-like as its title suggests.

[Jim Green]