The Magic Gang
8 January 2016; Telharmonium
The Magic Gang are a four-piece from Brighton specialising in the kind of Weezer-esque geek rock anthems that were always bound to gain them attention from magazines like NME and DIY. As well as this, the lead single from this EP, “Jasmine”, has been featured regularly on BBC Radio 1. And do they deserve the attention? Absolutely they do. Their debut EP, which was at least partially recorded at Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica with reggae rhythm section and producers Sly and Robbie, reveals hit after hit of melodic and catchy indie rock. The Weezer comparisons may subside slightly as the band continue to develop a sound of their own consisting of intricate and uplifting indie pop songs.
On the surface the tracks sound buoyant, however lyrically they deal with the similar themes of love, longing and adolescent awkwardness that were also found on older tracks ‘No Fun’, ‘Alright’ and ‘She Won’t Ghost’. The fact that the lyrics are now accompanied by 60s inspired guitar and vocals that are not dissimilar to The Beach Boys makes for an interesting contrast. ‘Lady, Please’ opens with what is probably the most catchy riff you’re likely to hear for some time (I’ve caught myself humming it a fair few times now) and features reggae influenced syncopated beats.
a must for fans of current indie pop
This is followed by ‘She Doesn’t See’, which is probably the most positive song on the record both sonically and lyrically, with its bouncy bassline and high-pitched ‘ooh’s. This explodes into a chorus (following the first of which there is a short guitar solo that deserves to be mentioned just for being so ridiculously cool) which sounds as though it is waiting to be sung back at them at festivals and sweaty venues alike. The centrepiece of this EP is “Jasmine”, led by plodding drums from Paeris Giles which are layered over by lyrics rife with frustration and finally opens up to an expansive chorus with clever harmonies over delicate guitar chords.
‘Feeling Better’ is the most bitter and downbeat song on the record, with verses describing a break-up separated by a chorus of “I just hope that you’re feeling better now” sung by frontman Jack Kaye. The final song on the EP, ‘All That I Want Is You’, begins with a simple chord progression and then gives way to a bassline from that perfectly emphasises the vocals of guitarist Kristian Smith. A heartfelt and uplifting chorus makes this a standout track and an excellent end to the record. The Magic Gang have also developed themselves a reputation of being a compelling live act, as was their recent set at The Lexington; they sound as good as, if not better than, their recorded material.
The Magic Gang are a band quickly gaining momentum, and if these songs are anything to go by, 2016 is likely to be a big year for them. A sombre yet uplifting EP, this is a must for fans of current indie pop and an enjoyable demonstration of their potential. We’ll undoubtedly see a debut album before too long.