Magic Bullets – s/t

Rating: ★★★½☆

San Francisco of late hasn’t really offered up a lot of genuine pop records, instead it has a great deal of bands weirding out if you will.  That is until you hear the delightful sounds coming from the self-titled album by Magic Bullets. There’s a lot of obvious influences that you’ll hear on this, their second album, but regardless of where they’re coming from, the group is sure to be up for good things in the future.

It’s hard to tell if the band is using California as their starting off point, or if they’re just channeling classic Orange Juice riffs.  They’ve got sharp guitar hooks fueling the song, and the drums give it an extra bit of spring.  You might find a hint of Robert Smith in the vocals, but the overall atmosphere of the song is much more vibrant, creating less of a mood swing and more of a foot stomper.  A similar effect is employed in “Lying Around,” the single for the band, but the pseudo-yelp in the vocals can only evoke a magical quality you’ll find in the band’s name.  Bubbling bass work here goes a long way to give a bit of a groove, and one you’ll use to get your friends moving about your house.

Still, this isn’t your typical album chocked full of jangle pop, as slow-movers exist to provide an underlying level of depth.  “They Wrote a Song About You” catches you in the arms of your lover, twirling you about, as the vocals have a smooth croon, which is different than early exposure to the band.  “China Beach” moves really slowly, but careful guitar strumming provides listeners with a chance to give themselves over entirely to the emotive quality here.  As other songs seem to encourage you to catch up with Magic Bullets, this song asks that you slip into the song itself, going gently into the swirling beauty of the chorus.

Surely everyone will find joy in songs like “On Top of the World” with its ringing guitars reminiscent of recent work by The Lodger.  This is the music you can dance to while your arms flail about and your feet struggle to catch the beat.  It’s a track that lets you get lost in joyousness and carefree times.  Similarly, “Sigh the Day Away” goes all nostalgic, reflecting guitar oriented dance tracks of the mid-80s (this is before the cursed invention of laptop dance).  You’ll hear songs like these, with their solid percussive elements, and you’ll have no choice other than to give yourself over to the rhythm, as you should.  Just let yourself go.

Magic Bullets self-titled album has a lost of trademark sounds taken from various other groups, which I suppose could be the one knock against the group, but when you’re able to perfect such qualities, taking them to your own place, then you’re a success.  Every bit of this album sounds familiar, friendly and danceable.  Grab your friends by the hands, drag them to your living room dance floor and enjoy this pleasurable record.


Download: Magic Bullets – Lying Around [MP3]

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