This is proof that the cover song is not dead. With its EP for “The Road Leads Where It’s Led” (off 2004’s dominating self-titled debut), the Secret Machines, a three-piece from Texas via New York City, give fans much more than simply something to tide them over. Mature interpretations of Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and “Money (That’s What I Want”), which the Beatles popularized, show a band putting its own spin on revered classics.
Slowed down to a multi-layered Floyd/Zeppelin crawl, “Money” is transformed from a three-minute pop to a nine-minute trance. “Better Bring Your Friends,” a new Secret Machines song, is a solid indication of the next album’s success, but the highlight is Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” where the drums drop out and guitarists/singer Ben Curtis and his keyboardist/bassist/singer brother Brandon build such a riveting, textured fury over nine minutes that every drawn-out chord change and climactic build becomes distinctively their own.