ALBUM REVIEW: THE MAGIC GANG – DEATH OF THE PARTY (WARNER)
An album is very much the product of the environment in which it was made, and this has helped The Magic Gang’s musical prowess grow as they have in themselves.
Their eponymous debut back in 2018 was majority written in the Brighton house that the quartet shared and as a result, translated into songs that one could argue all sounded one and the same. However, Death of the Party signals growing older. Moving back home and living separately has brought around new, individual, issues that come across vividly in what is a solid sophomore effort for the band.
This is music for a Sunday morning coffee in ‘I Am Sunshine’, a
quaint Piano led song, with strings in support, whichjaunts along with themes
of thinking about the future. But it is also music for a Friday night jive with
‘Take Back The Track’, exhibiting a funky bassline that incessantly makes you
want to move some part of your body in some sort of way.
Regardless of what day it is, the most enjoyable aspects of
The Magic Gang stand tall, the strong melodies and the catchy refrains are
still there throughout songs such as ‘Just a Minute’, nodding towards being a
vulnerable male with lyrics like: “Hold me, hold me honey, don’t let go.” The follow up track ‘What Have
You Got To Lose?’ is a socially anxious stream of consciousness that builds up
into an affirmation that we should take more risks. Gone are the vague
admissions of love throughout, and in comes a narrative embedded firmly in
reality. Despite the move away from the happy go lucky nature of their last
album and into new, more introspective territory, the vocal harmonies and
roaring crescendos remain to place to cast sunshine over an otherwise bleak
Grammy award winning producer Ben H. Allen manned the helm
for this one, known for his genre spanning work with multiple artists from
Gnarls Barkley and P. Diddy to the likes of Christina Aguilera and known
musical experimentalists Animal Collective. So, it’s no wonder why this is a
genre blending mix much like that of Combat
Rock (The Clash), this is a guitar pop band experimenting with their
boundaries. The instrumentation remains the same but for the inclusion of warm
brass sections in ‘Think’ and ‘Make Time For Change’, which makethe lyrics
march on towards themes of becoming a better person.
It’s a disco, Motown and funk inspired indie album where you
can heavily hear the influence of the likes of Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder
blending well with the jangly tone of the archetypal Magic Gang guitars. This
is summed up perfectly by the lyrics: “It’s power chords and soul” in ‘Gonna
Bounce Back’, a song that differs in vocal delivery to its predecessors, with it
being a lazy conversational tone rather than one that is sung, reminiscent of
The last track of the main body of songs, ‘(The World) Outside My Door’, is one that lyrically encapsulates what it means to be a twenty something in this generation. “First thing in the morning, I’m gonna make a change”, throughout the song, the famous last words carried in melancholy by whirring strings, guitar down strokes, and soft keys, before building up into an almost shoegaze crescendo which cuts out quickly.
This album is a prime example of a band growing up and not only trying to improve themselves as musicians, but as human beings.