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    The Magic Numbers

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    The Magic Numbers( 2005 )
    Morning Eleven / Forever Lost / The Mule / Long Legs / Love Me Like You / Which Way To Happy / I See You, You See Me / Don't Give Up The Fight / This Love / Wheels On Fire / Love's A Game / Try

    Lots of bands love Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Not many get a personal invitation from the man himself to open up for him on tour. They didn't refuse either. Well, would you?? The Magic Numbers, for the record, comprise of two sets of siblings. Always useful for the old vocal harmonies a bit of a family bond, isn't it? Still, i'll give my reservations to you all before I get to the good bits. Twelve songs lasting 54 minutes is slightly too much of a sweet thing, especially as not all of the songs hit the mark. None of the songs are awful or anything, it really is just a little too much. Still, on with the good. There are some terrific songs here and it's nice that the lyrics are both competent and show universal themes. Do we want lyrics about Hoodies and Red Bull or do we want lyrics we can all associate with? Well, you can of course ponder that for yourselves. Rabid Arctic Monkeys fans may not agree, but i'd rather have Magic Numbers, thank you. A five minute opening track that isn't so much an opening track as a launch straight into everything the band are. A song with slow sections, faster sections. Infectious rhythms and those slower sections? Absolutely to die for, total romance, whether good or bad. Swoonsome harmonies. Then we're rocking again, a blackpool pier transported to Los Angeles and it's good. The little shuffle that announces 'Long Legs' is guaranteed to make everybody smile and so few bands have that ability. The music is fairly unambitious if one were to be picky about these things, but totally suitable and appropriate for what the band are trying to acheive. Not a bad note or anything anywhere, neither a classically inspired tricksy guitar solo. Just music with wonderful spaces exactly where you want spaces to be. I hope that makes sense. I don't mean gaps, I mean spaces. Say no more.

    'Forever Lost' was a single, one of a few released from the album. It's a perfect anthem for either the summer or the autumn. It really can work for both. It's so well constructed, so simply unambitious just really well put together music with proper actual melodies. Many bands these days forget that songs with a couple of clever lyrical phrases really don't stand the test of time if they don't contain memorable and catchy music. 'Love Me Like You' has little start/stop sections and handclaps without having handclaps. If you know what I mean? Listen to the album and you'll know exactly what I mean. We can go right through to song 11 to find a semi-classic, the utterly lovely ballad 'Love's A Game', a song of a calibre we rarely see these days. Yes, we've a few blander and lesser moments inbetween, but this really is good stuff. Listen to this, not The Kaiser Cheifs. Do they make you happy and will they still make you happy in five years time? Anyway, this isn't about temporary passing fads. This is about 'The Magic Numbers' which people will still be cherishing in fifteen years time, unless the world ends, which it might do. Who knows? In a band? This might be the only record you ever make. Make it a good one, please? Thank you.

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    Readers Comments

    Dan dperris@laingorourke.com
    Agreed, it is a lovely album, but it soon becomes fairly bland. I doubt I'll still be listening to it in 15 years. 7/10

    Scott Webb scottwebbok@aol.com
    Adrian, dude! Thanks for introducing me to this band. The songwriting on this album is superb. Each song seems to have many parts all of them genius. For an album full of serious heartfelt relationship songs how can the whole thing come off so uplifting? Everyone who hasn't listened already needs to listen and find out. -Scott

    John, County Kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    Adrian is pretty much on the money here. 8.5/10 is the correct rating. A fine, spirited debut from the band, that just falls short on perfection due to the overuse of ballads/"slow" songs, and the fact that these particular tunes are all lumped together at the end. Also, why do bands INSIST on putting "hidden" tracks on their albums, Christ it is so fucking annoying!!! Having got that rant off my chest, I actually like this album a lot, and if they can address the slight problems here, I think The Magic Numbers have a very positive future.

    GAZZA gary.hess44@hotmail.com
    I agree with john from kildare , the hidden track thing is annoying and the slow songs ARE all loaded too much to the end of the album , the 2 great singles aside these are the best songs , from the wondrous "i see you/ you see me" onwards its just like balm for the soul , mellow summer sounds . The other up tempo tracks earlier in the record sound weaker in comparison , not as memorable . The harmonys are great too but Am i alone in prefering the girls voices ? Id like to have heard them take a lead vocal .

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    Those The Brokes 8 ( 2006 )
    This Is A Song / You Never Had It / Take A Chance / Carl's Song / Boy / Undecided / Slow Down (The Way It Goes) / Most Of The Time / Take Me Or Leave Me / Let Somebody In / Runnin' Out / All I See / Goodnight

    Too much chaff on their wheat? Well, not as much as last time, yet also we don't have as many high-points. They've evened out some of the rough edges then, which is both a good and a bad thing. We want them to search and explore and make mistakes, not become The Mamas And Papas crossed with Dire Straits. So, I can understand the bland accusations and the slightly indifferent reviews the British press in particular have given this sophomore set. The American press has generally been more positive. All in all, 'Those The Brokes' is still too long, a fault of course the debut shared. There is room for improvement, yet lovely moments here and there convince me this band has the potential to release a classic. They just need a little genuine heartbreak and/or tension in the ranks in order to acheive it. Abba didn't write all those pop classics by getting along with each other, after all. They got married then fell out. Magic Numbers need to fall out! Having said this, the slower songs fare better this time around than last time out, 'Slow Down' is gorgeous, especially the vocals overlapping and the delicate and beautiful 2nd half of the tune. Lovely, lovely, lovely. The poppier moments still win through. An uptempo 'Running Out' placed towards the end, correcting one of the faults of album one in that all the slower songs were grouped together at the end. 'Running Out' is very nifty and sports impressive vocal harmonies. A little edge production wise would have helped and it must be doubted whether a self-production was indeed the best thing for the band to have done. Lead single 'Take A Chance' follows on directly from the debut and sounds as if it's come from it, but that's now bad thing. It's one of those happy songs The Magic Numbers do so well.

    We need some structure. Cut the album down to ten songs, the lead single should be the first track. Make the lovely acoustic, string assisted ballad 'Take Me Or Leave Me' song two. Place 'Slow Down' as song three, 'Running Out' as song four. Just structure the album like 'Pet Sounds' or any of those sixties albums. Remember vinyl and learn a lesson. Bands these days forget the art of structuring albums. It's important. Well, what else? The opening 'This Is A Song' is a glorious five minutes of music and vocals that make it immediately clear the band have progressed in certain aspects. It sounds more confident, it's not easy to pin down though, the improvement. The bouncy 'Carl's Song' is welcome, a few more uptempo songs would be welcome, despite the quality of the ballads here. The album is good, but not as good as i'd hoped. The craftsmanship on display is undeniable, yet they need to come out with a cracking single next time around, something nobody can argue with. Couple more classics, a ten track album. They can do it, I know they can. Oh, i'd like John Leckie to produce them if he can still hear in his old age.

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    this page last updated 23/03/07



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