The Bee Gees. The Back to the Future films. The story of the three little pigs. They say good things come in threes and I, a firm believer in this, was excited for the Magic Gang’s new EP. I had seen them 7 times by this point and by the end of the summer I would have accumulated a good effort of seeing the Brighton-based band live 9 times.
But plot twist. Stayin’ Alive is a highly-overrated song, Michael J. Fox only made 1 and a half decent films and what actual mad man gives planning permission to three little pigs? While it features tracks with potential, The Magic Gang have produced another average EP that leaves me feeling cheated. An album is long overdue and if it means sacrificing their hectic live schedule to get it sorted, then it is worth it.
Perhaps the most obvious attempt at moving away from their previous two EP sounds, Life Without You is a joy to listen to. Oh, where are the happy vibes? “You’re seriously telling me the EP isn’t just a blatant circa waves inspired quartet??” I am. This song, with its slow instrumentals and choir backing vocals makes you want to sit next to a window whilst heavy rains attacks it, but in a good way. Short but sweet, this track is as Drake-like thought provoking an indie band can get.
Hotel Apathy starts the EP off strong and personally it is the highlight for me. Its relaxing melodic instrumentals and sophistic bass shows signs of the band forming their own sound for an album. The vocals compliment the good writing and the Mac Demarco-esque post-chorus guitar riff showcases the bands playing ability and will be a pleasure to see live. No One Else is the middle ground between their suggested new direction and their older fun sound. I thought I would hate this one as the start seemed like it was going to set me up for an unremarkable track but that was soon corrected. The bands strong points are definitely their abilities to create catchy melodies and hooks. They create a relaxed sound but it makes you want to dance and the contradiction of the disconsolate lyrics and upbeat backing instrumentals is defiantly a strange appeal for the band.
And then we get to How Can I Compete. I wish we didn’t have to. This, yes, this song, is the first song teased for the EP. This is exactly the type of song I wanted the band to avoid when they revealed new music was coming. It is so boring and unimaginative; the other three songs show the bands potential and playing ability but this seems like a song that just failed to make it onto the first EP. The only compliment I want to give it is that it is under three minutes long.
You cannot argue against their fun sound and live reputation, as I said I have enjoyed them many times before, but it gets so boring and repetitive. I find myself asking whoever I’ve dragged along to the gig if the band had already played this, on several occasions. The hype generated early last year for an album has seemed to run its course and three EP’s later, I and so many other fans have simply grown out of their music and lack the excitement we felt when their First EP was released, in January 2016. This EP has good tracks in Hotel Apathy and Life Without You but my whole opinion on the new music seems to be weighed down with the huge anchor of lack of risk and progression.
The Magic Gang can win back a portion of their dejected fans, few of them I may add as huge support is still gathering for the lads, by changing their sound for the album. Signing to a new label is exciting but can also drain their creativeness and they need to avoid releasing an album that is basically a EP compilation. Nevertheless, this EP will please the majority of fans and steamroll their attempt to seemingly support every band, ever.
Words by Jack Wager.
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