The Magic Gang EP boasts successful college rock independence

Magic GangHeralding from the New Forest via Brighton while attending university, The Magic Gang have built a reputation over 2015 as being a formidable live act with a keen ear for both strong melodies and woozy guitar squeals. While earlier singles “No Fun” and “Shallow” hinted at a college rock sound akin to Weezer (albeit with less distortion), it appears that the band are moving towards a catchier, more upbeat direction.

Released independently on Teleharmonium Records, The Magic Gang EP wavers into more unashamed pop territory. “Jasmine”, the record’s centrepiece and the band’s catchiest song to date, sounds almost like what you might expect of One Direction if they played guitars and wrote their own music. That’s not to slander it though, the gang-vocal refrain and cowbell-heavy middle-8 still proves an interesting listen for pop rock purists.

Opening track “Lady, Please” features a simple but memorable riff and smooth chorus, likely to bury deep into your consciousness and refuse to leave for days. Aided by a neat harmonising guitar solo, it’s a strong opener and is understandably a staple of the band’s live set.

It is believed that the last song on an album should hint at what’s still to come, and “All That I Want Is You” suggests that The Magic Gang may be veering into subtle, 80s power-ballad territory. Like “Jasmine” before it, the song may be somewhat controversial in the eyes of fans hoping for more downbeat college rock, but is perhaps a more mature piece of songwriting anyway.

The topic of rocky relationships still features prominently in the lyrics, but dual vocalists Jake Kaye and Kristian Smith appear somewhat more at ease with the world than on earlier singles, with the focus on social anxiety turned down a notch. Kaye and Smith’s intertwining vocals compliment each other, but unfortunately their voices sound somewhat too similar to distinguish on record.

The Magic Gang EP may be lacking the grit that made “No Fun” such an exceptional single, but it is a solid effort from a young and talented new group continuing to find their feet. A little more sonic diversification would be ideal when the time comes for a debut album, but The Magic Gang’s ability to write playful, catchy songs has been well and truly established.

Release: 8th January 2016, Telharmonium Records

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    Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. The Magic Gang EP | Stan Bull - 06/01/2016

      […] Read my review of The Magic Gang’s self-titled debut EP, for Drunkenwerewolf here. […]

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