Back in 1993, Gary Barlow asked ‘Could it be magic now?’, 25 years later, we all woke up with a similar question on our minds as The Magic Gang’s long awaited debut album arrived.
The album consists of a mixture between old EP tracks and brand new ones. However, despite being older, the past tracks have been revamped, rerecorded and given a new lease of life on the album.
Album intro, ‘Oh, Saki’ sets the perfect tone for the record to come. It’s beaming with joy and rough guitars in the classic, Magic Gang way we all know and love. The harmonies between Kris and Jack are honeyed and sugar sweet and the overtaking of one another’s voice is perfectly balanced and as the instrumental solos come in, they’re not at all overpowering, calculated and precise, the guitars are bright, sparky and reminiscent of Weezer somewhat, from track one, the band put themselves in the best light and drag you in.
‘Take Care’ features not only as the first track sun entirely by bassist, Gus Taylor but also the most emotional and raw the band have so far presented themselves, they’re stripped of any masks and open to their feelings. The moody lyrics surrounding the heartbreak and upset following the loss of a relationship are sound tracked to a melancholy piano lead before being met by a sharp, crisp drum beat and bass line. The song displays a conflict between the good and bad within a relationship and reminisces upon the moments of happiness. Take Care is set to break your heart and make you long for a lost one all in 4 minutes, it’s a been tried and tested by the best of them to convey this much emotion in such a short track but it seems, The Magic Gang have cracked the code.
So far, ‘Slippin” is my favourite track from the album, the intro is soft, soothing and calm, unusual for this band arguably, playing alongside Jack Kaye’s modulated and silvery voice. Only at the chorus do the band unleash their full force as the melody turns hefty and vigorous, it feels classically them, similar to something you’d of found on their old sound cloud yet with a tinge of the emotional and poignant theme they’ve gravitated towards and explored through this record, merging the old and the new effortlessly.
Seeing ‘All That I Want Is You’ on the track list immediately made me very excited as the song has always been up there for me as a favourite. However, on this album, it is back, badder and bolder than ever, the softer, muted version ditched for a sharp, zesty, stripped back edition of the track. This is just one example of the Magic Gang’s sound revamp, switching the old for the new and not taking the easy route as each song that has been released prior to this point has had obvious audible makeovers and alterations to fit the exact image the album holds.
Of course, a great album is nothing without a great producer and for The Magic Gang, this comes in the form of multi-skilled and talented Jolyon Thomas, known for working with U2, Slaves, King Nun and Royal Blood. There’s no doubt the band are aiming high and reaching to be the best from their choice of acclaimed producer alone.
This album is destined for carefree days in the sun, car drives in the afternoon and the sad moments after breakups, The Magic Gang have hit gold on this album and scored highly, Gary Barlow would call it magic.