In the early '80s, another wave of backward-masking hysteria hit the national scene, with unfounded claims that popular rock bands intentionally hid Satanic messages in their records. ELO had already been hit with this rumor for a song on their album ELDORADO, and on the following album's "Fire on High," Jeff Lynne deliberately placed an obvious backwards message. Because the initial prank worked so well, Lynne did not only did it again in this album's opening–the message is simply the album's title–but named the album in honor of the hysteria. SECRET MESSAGES proves that Lynne's artistic vision, like his sense of humor, was undimmed. Tracks like the psychedelically tinged "Loser Gone Wild" and the delicate "Bluebird" are as strong as anything he'd previously done, and the rockabillyish "Rock and Roll Is King" even pays tribute to the '50s-influenced style of his former bandmate Roy Wood.
One of the themes of this album is dawn, new beginnings, taking the first steps on a new journey and so on, and many of the sounds used on it were recorded early in the morning. Several feature water, be it rain or a gently burbling forest stream. The recorded sounds were then processed in various ways to create soundscapes which hopefully have something of the life and organic feel of nature in them. A commentator online once described Snufmumriko music as "soundscape cloth woven from field recordings" and Ingmar Wennerberg think that’s an apt description.