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coverpic flag US - Tennessee - Full Moon 172 - 09/23/10

Magic Kids
Memphis
True Panther Sounds/Matador / Playground

This album clocks in at 29 and a half minutes. 11 short and snappy songs; only one lasts more than three minutes. That's the way to do it!

Brian Wilson's new album Reimagines Gershwin is an honourable enough homage to one of his musical heroes, but it's hardly his greatest career move. Good then to know that there are new generations to take over where Brian left off at his creative peak some 40-45 years ago. On Magic Kids' MySpace page they label their music as punk. Well, it has to be really vintage punk, whatever that means, even preceding 1960s punk bands like The Standells, Stooges and MC5. Heavy orchestrated pop-punk with brass and strings, maybe...

About half of the songs on Memphis draw heavy on the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson back catalogue. For instance the smashing opener "Phone" more than indicates that the kids have picked up some tricks from the Beach Boys' albums of the first half of the 60s and the arrangment more than nods in direction of Brian's 2004 recording of Smile. I'm no big fan of Beach Boys' happy-go-luck-songs of that early era and much prefer Brian's melancholic and vulnerable songs a little later. Well, the kids don't seem to quite agree. The majority of these songs are of the lucky kind, especially "Superbowl" and "Cry With Me Baby" (sounds jolly merry to me, despite the title), the ones that pleases me the least here. "Hey Boy" is another halfway happy candidate. However it's performed with tongue firmly in cheek and turns real fun with that 1960s flavoured girl choir. Memphis includes songs with melancholic leanings too. Here the distance is larger to the Wilson family and confirms Magic Kids is a band that can stand firmly on their own foundations. Especially the more experimental songs "Hideout" and "Summer" where they mix several musical elements, instrumental use and tempos. "Little Red Radio" is another goodie that's not so easy to pin down. With "Candy" and "Sailin'" they in between even remind me of our own Norwegian Loch Ness Mouse some years ago, which can't be wrong. And "Good To Be" suggests this band even might be capable to rock, with guitars, violins and brass.

Magic Kids will set out on a major tour of Europe and North-America soon. Wonder how they'll sound without the orchestra...

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