Magic Magic

Magic Magic

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2009, Tower Ninety Music

CD FORMAT. How exciting it is to come across an album about which you know nothing, by a band you've never heard of, trailing no distracting hype whatsoever, and discover that it is wonderful. From Salem, Massachusetts, Magic Magic are led by John Francis Murphy, whose high, jaded tenor lends songs such as "Jellyfish" and "Tahiti" a genuinely sinister air. His lyrics are strange, too. The opening track, "Over Your Heart," seems to be about totalitarianism and individualism, both of the emotional and the governmental type, yet, musically, its bold and stirring major-chord sweeps offer a powerful, almost pastoral contrast. "Jellyfish," notionally about the sea creature's attempts to take on human form, but also, again, about conformity v. distinctiveness, is similarly conflicted. The band can be appealingly casual.

As "Sleepy Lion" hurtles towards its climax, an accordion suddenly enters the mix, and you think: "They're really going to lay it on here." But they don't; the song ends seconds later, brutally, with the snap of a snare. The band's twin-drummer attack pays richest dividends on "Savage," in which percussive explosions sit alongside moments of barbershop-like harmonising. If you're looking for comparisons, you might cite Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, the Spinto Band and the like. Really, though, Magic Magic are their own band. And what a band - and what a discovery. - Dan Cairns


Disc 1
1 Over Your Heart
2 French Song
3 Tahiti
4 Talking Smoke
5 Sleepy Lion
6 Jellyfish
7 Washington or Bust
8 Savage
9 Abracadabra!

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