The Secret Beach 
Songs From The Secret Beach 

Independent • 2022

Songs From The Secret Beach is a collection of stories, confessions, and hope told by a weary and honest songwriter.

On his debut album, Poor Mic’s Toe, Manitoba-raised Micah Erenberg playfully sang about getting into a lawn mower accident and becoming addicted to morphine when he was a kid. “Doc, I’m higher than a telephone wire; you gotta get me some more of that stuff,” he ridiculously sang. But that was 2016, and a lot has changed for Erenberg since then. He’s toured the world, collaborated with and produced some of Manitoba’s most talented musicians, and released a Bandcamp album to raise funds for Winnipeg’s unhoused population. That’s not to mention releasing the cinematic tour de force Love Is Gonna Find You in 2019 — an exercise in bedroom-pop maximalism. 

With all his accomplishments local and abroad, credited and uncredited, his latest release — under the new moniker the Secret Beach — is his best yet. Songs From The Secret Beach is a collection of stories, confessions, and hope told by a weary and honest songwriter. From upbeat California rock to piano ballad, Erenberg’s unique brand of bedroom folk-pop is warm, inviting, intimate and natural. The unpretentious songs are crystal clear in their presentation, elegant regarding production, and Erenberg’s air-tight lyrics are confident in their message. It also can’t hurt slacker-rock producer extraordinaire Rob Schnapf (Kurt Vile, Eliott Smith, Beck, to name a few) mixed the album. Each lyric, synthesizer, chord, and melody is in its right place. The analogue 8-track mixes boost the album’s classic quality, but it’s Erenberg’s proficiency as a songwriter that showcases the timelessness he’s been working to achieve.

Take a song like “God Is,” for example. The deceptively simple song has three elements that work in tactful harmony to highlight but not interfere with the profound meaning of the song. In the song, Erenberg spends six minutes describing different locations and scenarios where God is found–“God is in the alleyway, smoking cigarettes/ God is in the toilets, having unprotected sex / God is in the office, with his two kids on his desk / God is sick of giving more and always getting less.”

As the track plays this strange game of “Where’s Waldo?” with God, Erenberg forces you to confront your limited notation of who or what God represents. The deity Erenberg sings about is omnipotent and moves through his experiences and crafts the lenses through which they see the world. 

Heavier songs like “God Is,” “How Can I Find My Way,” and “Last Time We Love” play out as untold refractions of Erenberg’s soul. They are moody, indisputably contemplative, and raw in their delivery, undoubtedly some of his most profound material. But in true fashion, Erenberg’s characteristic “aw shucks” approach to songwriting is ever-present. 

“Oops Too Bad” is an intentionally juvenile song interjected with lyrics like “Make a plan, oops too bad that won’t fly / Get a loan, oops too bad you took too long / Try again, oops too bad you’re still stuck losing,” making it by all accounts a fairly dismal song. Still, a toy drum machine underpins the rhythmic acoustic guitar, and the whimsical sentiment and playful nature only put a smile on your face. Hard times may be here, but we can still have fun with it, right?

You feel that same unrelenting honesty in the face of despair on “Song For My Sister.” Operating as a confessional to family, friends, and his listeners, Erenberg sings, “You just can’t sweat it, you got to name it and forget it / No more promises, no more ties / No more small plans, no more tries / No more hanging on, no more scenes / No more, no more, chasing dreams.” 

Released in 2020 as part of a short film called Art Week, “Song For My Sister” is effectively the jumping-off point for a new creative path. The unhidden and conversational lyrics about letting go of anxiety are a solid testament to Erenberg’s unrelenting creativity and the subtle shift between his previous work and the Secret Beach project. “It’s so easy, getting caught up in the fray / I had a good life, but not the life for me,” sings Erenberg in the best song from his best album.

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