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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Magic Bullets - s/t

Name:  Magic Bullets
Album(s): s/t
Years: 2010
Style:  Indie, New Wave
Similar Bands:  Morrissey, XTC, English Beat, Stellastar, Big Country
"One-Word" Review:  Tropical Jangley 80’ British Wave
Based Out Of:  
San Francisco
Label: Mon Amie
 Self Titled: Front & Back
Self Titled: Inner Artwork, Tray & CD
Magic Bullets (2010)
  1. A Day Not So Far Off 3:44
  2. They Wrote A Song About You 2:45
  3. Pretend & Descend 3:47
  4. Lying Around 3:28
  5. Young Shoulders 2:11
  6. Red Room 2:49 /
  7. On Top Of the World 2:45
  8. A Name Sits Heaviest on My Heart 2:49
  9. Millions of People Running in Circles 2:38
  10. China Beach 3:25
  11. Sigh the Day Away 4:11
Album Rating (1-10):  8.5

Members & Other Bands:  
Jack Shirley – Recording
Philip Benson – Vox (The Cosmos)
Corey Cunningham – Guitar (The Cosmos, Dominant Legs)
Matthew Kallman – Organ, Piano (Girls)
Danny Sullivan – Drums (Screeching Weasel, Queers, Riverdales, Groovie Ghoulies, The Plus Ones, Beulah, The Red Verse)
Nathan Sweatt – Badd (Dominant Legs)
David Bornfriend – Inner Photo
Rob Knight – Cover photo

Unknownness:  I had never heard of this band. I picked it up for free at work, as a cast off from the radio station. I liked the dark, minimalist cover photo of flowers at night, and simple wavy font song title text on the back. Seems simple, but deep, and overall, dark. I imagine, based on the artwork and since it is from 2010, it will be some dark, hipsterry emo crap.

Album Review:
“A Day Not So Far Off” starts with some chaotic feed back, and launches into a jangley guitar speed pop song.  The vocals remind me a lot of many british new wave bands, as well as Stellastar or Dogs Die in Hot Cars with a little less depth. The song cruises along, slightly disjointed, but ultimately smooth thanks to the vocals, which are even a bit Morrissey-like. The song feels a little disjointed, and overall a little sloppily organized, but it is a fun and catchy song.
“They Wrote A Song About You” has a 2-1 back beat, and the very, very Morrissey-like vocals begin to croon over the soft, jangely pop song. A piano in the background adds to the lightness, which make it a nice shoegazing style song.
“Pretend & Descend” starts with a steady, bouncing bass beat, coupled with an ethereal, haunting keyboard effect. The steady drums drive the song along, and jangle guitar is added a bit later. The vocals are sharper then Morrissey here, actually a little like Andy Partridge in his ballady reserve. This song, too is a little loopy and repetitive.
“Lying Around” the instrumental dance breakdown of the previous song leads naturally into a bouncy and fun followup song, here. The vocals are much more emotionally delivered, which reminds me more of Stellastar. The song has a fun melody to follow, up and down, strained and calm. It reminds me of the style of singing from Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s, without the depth of voice. The jangley guitar the repeates through out the entire song forms a very catchy hook that the song builds right up from and around. 
“Young Shoulders” presents the piano and more Morrissey vocals in the forefront, which is later replaced by the jangley guitar. The two take turns driving the song, underneath the monotone and smooth low deep vocals. All these songs rely a little too much on the chorus only, as the verse feels very truncated.
“Red Room” brings us back to the emotional vocals from Lying Around. This go around they are double layered, giving an echoey chorus feel that transitions into an early Andy Partridge style on occasion. The song is not a fast song or a ballad, falling somewhere in a driving, but meandering pace.

“On Top Of the World” feels like a carribbean, inslander slightly reggae groove of the jangle guitar and bass mixed. It reminds me a bit of English Beat. The nasally foe-English accent comes through in this light-ska jam. The overall atmosphere in this song is very joyful and contentedly happy, as the title would merit.
“A Name Sits Heaviest on My Heart” reminds me in title, and monotone vocals of Noah and the Whale. The drums really drive the song, but the vocals seem to take their time, and slow the song down, which kind of reminds me of how Smokey Robinson sings over his faster paced Motown hits. There is a little burst of emotion near the end, and there are dual layered vocals that do not overlap, which seem to suggest that there are two singers, at least they want to show two styles of monotone and emotion for the same singer.
“Millions of People Running in Circles” starts with a catchy jangely hook, reminding me of the Smiths, with a little less smoothness in the vocals. The bass beat follows up the pace of the hook, as does a frantically played keyboard just underneath the surface. The layering and pace of this song are very enjoyable and just off matched enough that make it interesting and give it depth. The instrumental breakdown strips the song down, and then builds it back up, marked by the drums.
“China Beach” is a slower and smooth song, with quiet vocals. It really just assimilates itself into whatever environment you are in as background music. 
“Sigh the Day Away” brings the album to an end with another island influenced slow happy reggae / English Beat style song with soaring brit-like vocals as has been par for the album. The jangley hook is very short and repetitive, and the bass really carries the song with a near-Jackson Five beat.

Stand Out Track:  Lying Around


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