The Magic Numbers self-titled debut album is a mix of dreamy pop numbers and intricate...
Lisa Haines 2005-04-26
The Magic Numbers self-titled debut album is a mix of dreamy pop numbers and intricate ballads which creeps up on you with amazing stealth. A clutch of frothy pop songs breeze past in a whirl of sixties soul and country rock.
The tunes appear lighthearted, but all the while hypnotic melodies are reeling you in, preparing you for the series of meandering and mesmerizing tracks in the album's second half, such as "Try" and "Love Is A Game".
Opener "Mornings Eleven" starts with a hooky indie-pop riff and an impossibly catchy chorus. Then there's a sudden change of pace where singer and guitarist Romeo Stodart's vocals take on a confessional tone, set against a backdrop of expansive harmonies erupting from bassist Michele Stodart and percussionist/vocalist, Angela Gannon.
Next track "Forever Lost", another great retro pop song, is more consistent in pace but still flits between faster beats from drummer Sean Gannon and Romeo's sudden soulful interludes. In one such break, Romeo sings the chorus over a shuffling Phil Spector rhythm, which then launches into another gorgeous riff underpinned by an effortlessly groovy bass line.
The constant changes demand attention and each song finds its own way to burrow under your skin. For instance, third track "The Mule" has beautiful harmonies and a sleazy rock dirge which sounds like The Magic Numbers have been hijacked by The Kings of Leon.
Further on there's more dynamic pop with "Love Me Like You" and there's a spellbinding duet on "I See You, You See Me", in which Romeo and Angela step up as modern day successors to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. On this album it's possible to hear strains of The Mamas And The Papas, The Ronettes, Bob Dylan, perhaps even The Beautiful South, but the music never seems derivative.
Aside from the intriguing family factor - the band are made up of two pairs of siblings - inspired musicianship and spectacular three-part melodies cement the allure. Utterly compelling from start to finish, it's sure to win over even the most hard-hearted amongst you.