Piano Magic – Life Has Not Finished With Me Yet

This, Life Has Not Finished With Me Yet, is the eleventh album from Piano Magic, blimey!

A mournful violin reminiscent of Laurie Anderson signals opening track “Matin” and starts us towards follow up "Judas"; the song sounds more like the band’s own personal Judas than anything to which the listener can relate. "The Slightest of Threads" has a Spanish guitar riff and mordant cello leading across the sands to a sublime electric cacophony of dervish guitar, before the gentle stop arrives unexpectedly. A female vocal for the ethereal "Sing Something” is accompanied by a funeral home organ and theremin like keys, before getting double tracked for even more ghostly affect. Possibly it's about abortion; certainly it’s like This Mortal Coil. A tap dance percussion and precise staccato bass make “Chemicals (20mg)” sound like A Certain Ratio.

The title track is a smoky whisper; a singer that wishes to be a ghost still clinging miserably to the imperative to exist. It's a little like The Residents. "Jar of Echoes" that follows later echoes the latter band even more so. A disturbing spectre assaulting your psyche, slowly sowing doubt with its creeping melody and typewriter tap backing. The whole album seems to be a meditation on death (whether achieved or not) but also finding a way forward. “The Way We Treat the Animals" has a West Coast lilt. An instrumental “Higher Definition” keeps the rock vibe with its (very laid back) snaky funk. Leonard Cohen seems to influence the delicately acoustic "You Don’t Need Me To Tell You" - especially and appropriately "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye".

It ends not with a bang - nor a whimper - but with the soft, uplifting “A Secret Never Told”. Its lyrical entreaty, "Do not forget, you're not alone" and a church bell again, signalling...something with a future. It slips away with a music box reprise of "Life Hasn’t Finished With Me Yet". It’s a relief these days to hear a group of songs from a band that form a distinct album; in this case they have a purpose too.

Release: 16th July 2012, Second Language Music

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