The Magic are Canadian brothers Geordie and Evan Gordon, who started and styled the group in the back room of a thrift store. When I heard Mr Hollywood, the lead single from Ragged Gold, it was like Talking Heads’ nervous energy was being channelled through Hot Chip’s dance aesthetic. Frustratingly, The Magic don’t have many more tricks up their sleeve.
This is nine tracks of comfortably numb indie-dance by numbers that lack any of the personality I was hoping to find. Not that I don’t enjoy the echoes of the 80’s, the fat production and the relentlessly upbeat delivery – I am just unsure on its shelf-life.
Their album opens with Lightning Strikes, introducing their bubbling analogue synth basslines and the diehard pop euphoria that remains for the duration. On Night School they start like A-ha before running towards some fast 80’s funk. The vocals don’t really sing, they’re more like fast talking. And maybe that’s where groups like Hot Chip raise the stakes, managing to drop big melodies, real soul and human frailties into their electronic landscape. OK, so Magic Love comes close but the hook sounds too familiar to really buy into.
It’s best we skip No Sound, it sounds like some cross-breed of country, pop and a comedy jam. I don’t get it. Call Me Up, where the group’s friend Sylvie Smith steps up to the vocal mic, is almost as bad. Is this a Shania Twain cover? If not, she might be interested, give her a call.
Overall I still like the vibe emanating from this unashamed piece of shimmery, dance-pop, that taps and beats with an infectious positivity. We live in a time where music is often downloaded one day and trashed the next, so The Magic might make someone’s day, but it probably won’t go much further than that.
- Brian Bentner-