“A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” is how the old song goes, and it’s advice the trio Secret Cities appear to have taken to heart. Early in the song, as a a bassline merrily bobs and and keys twinkle, vocalist Marie Parker sweetly declares, “Turning down the shades, I’m perfecting the method of clearing my mind of your name.” The rest of the song proceeds with the kind of lightness and grace that characterize the best Carole King songs, with Parker gathering her resolve and the rest of the band — Charlie Gokey and Alex Abnos — assisting with Beach Boys backing harmonies and bounding instrumentation.
What’s even more remarkable, given the song’s lush pop arrangements and intricate construction, is that the band’s three members don’t even live in the same city. Parker lives in North Dakota, Gokey lives in DC and Abnos lives in New York. They recorded Walk Me Home, from which “Bad Trip” is taken — in a 10-day run at the San Francisco studio Tiny Telephone. The song feels complete — fully-realize and lovingly constructed, a kiss-off that feels like a kiss.