Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Magic Theatre - The Long Way Home

Quietly ambitious second album from the Liverpool duo packed with lyrically and musically rich baroque indie-pop. (Out Now on Elefant Records.)


It's easy in the modern world to feel jaded and world weary. Despite the technological advances we've experienced in the last few years, advances that our ancestors would never have believed possible, we still bemoan slow wi-fi, the intrusiveness of social media, and having to wait over 24 hours for the delivery of our online shopping. Which is why this album by Liverpool's The Magic Theatre is so refreshing and does much to re-install a much needed sense of wonder in the modern maze.

Take the album's opening track 'The Sampler', not as you might think a homage to a piece of kit by Korg, but a song sung from the perspective of a young Victorian girl, 200 years ago, busy embroidering her needlework in time for her birthday. A timely reminder that once people put their heart and soul into a craft rather than constantly updating their Facebook status.

The pleasant surprises don't end there. 'It Was Glorious' looks back at the initial rush of new young love in the height of summer. Passionate and alive, and full of warm sentiments. Glorious indeed! 'Festival Of Fire' throws in some Bollywood touches, which along with the samba percussion on 'I Got The Answer' indicates a tasteful musicality not often found in the indie pop world.

The album's centrepiece 'Cathedrals Of The Mind' takes a wry look at human achievement in science, art, music and architecture. As is said in the song - ”with bi-polar grandiosity....what high achieving deadly apes are we”, it's both a celebration and an acknowledgement of our status as a dying species. On top of that it may just be the greatest list song since The Beloved's 'Hello'. Yes that good!

The album's sole cover is a delightful version of 'Love Is Blue', Luxembourg's entry in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest. Underpinned by harpsichord and lush orchestration. It's an indication of The Magic Theatre's inspirations, baroque '60s pop, sensual and sophisticated ballads, and lushly sympathetic orchestration.

Song after song there's a compounding sense wholesomeness and heartfelt goodness that would come across as twee in lesser hands, but here is as refreshing as a mountain spring. An album unlike any other you'll hear this year. And one which might just make you see the world afresh.


Click here for more on The Magic Theatre.