Magic Mirror, Champagne & Hostages

Posted on September 8, 2010 by

Magic Mirror – Champagne & Hostages
Genre: Rock

The Litany:

I like a few of the songs, but this style of music really is not my bag. So my final grade on this may seem a little harsh. The band sounds like they know their way around the studio except when it comes to mixing in the vocals. I like the whole sound of the floating guitars but the voice made me not care because it sounded like he didn’t care. I felt the same way about the Smiths, I loved the music but I thought Morrissey needed a swift kick in the ass (and I know that’s not a popular opinion). But at least Morrissey had some drama.

Song by song summary:

Track 1: Starts off with a riff similar to “Hocus Pocus” by Focus. I’m expecting something more on the metal side of things but the vocals are droning, like an apathetic 80’s wash of production. The chorus provides energy as the song slips into a Television-type guitar riff. I can’t understand a word they’re singing on iTunes, my iPod or my stereo.

Track 2: I’m assuming this track is called, “You’ll Never Be Free.” The production is cleaner. I can understand the lyrics. It’s a nice bouncy break-up song. But once again, the vocal delivery sounds rather lazy and I don’t think the singer really cares if he’s jilted. So why should I?

Track 3: Really nice guitar intro, like it’s played through a chorus effect. The pace of the song matches the vocal delivery much better. It’s damn near a modern folk song.

Track 4: There’s some very trippy fader production and feedback in the intro and then it lapses to a derivative late 80s early 90s rhythm pattern used by shoe gazers. Again, there’s that big splashing wave of production, reminiscent of the Kitchens of Distinction, but heavier on the keys. If I would have seen this band in the 7th Street Entry in 1988, I would have thought highly of them. Right now, it sounds a little dated.

Track 5: This sounds like the Electric Prunes became zombies. And I don’t mean Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone.

Track 6: Very close to a reworking of “A Cowboy’s Lament.” Maybe if the effects were stripped off the vocals I’d like the voice better. I’m definitely having trouble with the vocals. It’s like a lazy-reverbed Nick Cave, with a cold, a half an octave higher with a little less octane.

Track 7: The intro slides into a very Harrison-like territory. And it sounds like there’s an addition of a female backing vocal. This is highly welcomed but it almost sounds if she has replaced the slide guitar.

Track 8: Another song that strips away the big production and the song sounds more like a modern folk song. The melody becomes more simplistic and the voice sounds more vulnerable. It’s my favorite song on the album so far. I’m guessing it’s called, “Never Gonna Die.”

Track 9: I’d like this song better if David Gedge sang it.

Track 10: All I can think of now is replacing the vocalist. I really like the instrumentation of these numbers. The big production doesn’t bother me. Melodically, a little of the hazy-floating side, but it’s pretty accessible. I want Chrissie Hynde to cover this one. Her voice would cut through the production instead become part of it. I thicker voice over this production would benefit the album.

Track 11: “I Love My Evil Country;” This should be the last song on the album. Even though I’m not one hundred percent sure of what I just aurally witnessed, this song seems to sum of the sentiments. It starts with the sparse production and goes big, like a traditional finale. Instead, well, read below.

Track 12: Incessant noodling, backward masking and self-indulgence isn’t a nice way to say goodbye.

Grade: C+

NOW THAT I KNOW WHO IT IS:

Well, it really doesn’t change my opinion. I checked out their MySpace page and read some of the posted reviews. The biggest difference was my confusion for “apathy” with “dry.” Track 3, 8 and 11 would be welcome on a mix along side their influences. But that’s three tracks out of twelve. In baseball, that’s a .250 average, which is a little below the “average average.” And I gave them a C+, which is a little above average. If you make the hits count, then it’s worthy of more praise, in both scenarios.


Grade:

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