Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Album Review: The Magic Numbers- Alias

The Magic Numbers
** out of *****
The brother sister quartet from England who have put out some catchy pop/rock return with their fourth release Alias this summer and instead of the bright tunes they are known for things have gotten a bit gloomy this go around.  

The moody/bland 6 minute+ "Wake Up" begins this disk, with a restrained, depressed texture in the vein of less exploratory side of Pink Floyd. Animal love, piano lines and up and down guitars mix but the feeling of restraint is everywhere and stifling. This isn't a call to physically arise, it is a struggle to break out of a mental haze that the group seems stuck in for a good chunk of Alias. "You K(no)w" stays in that same downward questioning spiral with weeping guitars and breathy vocals stretching out past the 5 minute mark with some ethereal jamming to close.  

"Out On The Streets" picks up the tempo via peppering drums and ringing guitars, but there is still a gloomy cloud with the lyrical content; things aren't rosy out there. "Roy Orbison" is a mid tempo waltz that can't live up to its namesake, even with some pretty strings and harmonies while "Accidental Songs" proves to be the best track on the disk, an engaging twist on Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz pop.  

The group makes a drastic 70's era turn with two songs here that disrupt the melancholy vibe of the overall album; things don't become elevated, just disjointed. Angela Gannon takes over lead vocals for the straight out of Fleetwood Mac's back catalog "Thought I Wasn't Ready" while "E.N.D" is pure disco fluff with strings and bass groove. This weird combo may have been cute singles on their own but are completely out of place on Alias, perhaps saving them for the next EP may have been the wise move.    

A band that started out upbeat seems to have hit an emotional wall, and while the talent is still there they seem to be grasping at new things rather then playing to their indie rock pop charms; this could all be part of their growing up and a transitional album but that doesn't make for enjoyable listening. The Magic Numbers have stated in recent interviews they feel this is their best disk yet, and they have grown up, while the latter is clear it is hard to agree with the first claim.

In the bands first single from the album, "A Shot In The Dark", front-man Romeo Stodart sings "Now baby I don't know why/I feel so helpless?" and that sense of floating aimlessness is everywhere on Alias from tracking order to stylistic choices, hopefully the group latches onto something more substantial next go around. 
We hadn't kept up with The Magic Numbers since their first release and we were disappointed with Alias. Decide for yourself though:

Support the band here, buy the album here, stream it here for a limited time, and peep some video below:

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