My initial exposure to The Magic Gang, a Brighton based four piece band, was during a support slot for Wolf Alice at the Trinity centre in Bristol, April 2015. I came away thinking they had been the best band of the night and was eager to immerse myself in their recorded material. Upon hearing said recorded material, I was severely bewildered to think I had been impressed by the band live, seeing as their recorded material was so mundane and uninteresting. I had hoped this EP would be packed full of tunes to justify my initial lofty expectations. I was wrong.
The EP has a sickly, poppy nature throughout, kicking off with ‘Lady Please’, containing a shimmering guitar solo from guitarist Kristian Smith, the solitary light in the song amidst a dull sounding pristinely clean rhythm section and the nauseating, boyband-esque vocal harmonies provided by Kristian Smith and Jack Kaye. The sonic barrage of vile sweetness continues on ‘She doesn’t see’, with a crisp bassline, Weezer indebted guitar and catchy chorus, “She looks up but she doesn’t see”, yet the song is not inventive in the slightest, meaning after the initial listen, there is no desire to sit through the song again.
The Weezer fascination in their music makes them resemble a Weezer tribute act with a tenth of the song writing ability and a lack of ingenuity, this is particularly evident on the cringe-inducing ‘Jasmine’. A punchy drumbeat and dreamy guitar are carried along by a bounding bassline from bassist Angus Taylor, unfortunately (and somewhat predictably) the decent instrumentation is ruined by nonsensical childlike lyrics of yearning for a girl: “Jasmine its true//I’ve waited here for you//Without this heart of mine//You’ll be doing fine”. Jack Kaye’s whiny, americanised vocals are probably designed to be endearing, alas they are not, purely serving as an irritant. ‘Feeling better’ is slow paced and instantly forgettable, with no aspect of the song grabbing the imagination. ‘All that I want is you’ sounds like an 80’s throwback with Paeris Giles’ rolling drums and airy vocals, with the band returning to the bile-generating romanticism of ‘Jasmine’ here, with lyrics like “You’re trying to save me//but maybe all that I want is you”.
This pining for women throughout the EP is meant to sound heartfelt, but due to the weak song writing it comes off as needy and annoying. This combined with the shiny pop production and boyband vocal harmonies, makes for a bland, uninspiring and unexciting collection of songs, with few lights of inspiration amongst the dark sea of mediocrity.