Sunday, November 20th, 2005
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 15
|The Magic Numbers / The Magic Numbers (EMI)
I like pop music as much as the next guy, and Britain’s Magic Numbers are about as pop as you get – actually, too much. There’s no denying the Magic Numbers have gorgeous, note-perfect harmonies and a keen ear for chirpy, sing-song melodies and jangly guitars that has garnered them no small amount of success both home and now abroad. What they don’t understand quite so well is brevity – their debut record boasts a running time of over an hour, and what starts out as a rather delightful sugary treat turns into a diabetic coma by the end of it all. Musically and lyrically, there’s little variety in their musical recipe and it really does end up being a textbook case of being killed with kindness. It would have all been lot more palatable if it had been trimmed to a pop music-approved 40 minutes. But still, they have some killer infectious numbers including “Forever Lost”, the not-surprisingly ultra-twee video for which I’ve linked below, and they’re on tour in North America right now, the final show of which will be at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on December 1.
|The Weather Machines / The Sounds Of Pseudoscience (Tigers Against Crime)
The Magic Numbers could learn something about brevity from The Weather Machines. On their debut album The Sound Of Pseudoscience, this South Dakotan outfit crams 12 sharp slices of new wave-y power pop into just over 34 minutes. This album could be filed quite comfortably alongside the earlier works of Elvis Costello and anything by Ted Leo, with its stripped-down sonics, irresistable hooks and brainy lyricism. The intellectualism comes honestly, too – primary Weather Machine Jason Ward sports a masters in electrical engineering and works at a college (and I do have a affection for engineers who want to grow up to be rock stars). Punchy, pogo-ey and recommended.
|The Cartels / E.P. (independent)
The Cartels are a new 4-piece hailing from the self-admitted “most un rock n roll town in the country” (Ipswich, Suffolk, UK) but are doing what they can to mitigate that title just a little bit. They cite acts like the Stone Roses, Doves and Charlatans as influences (amongst many others) and their “now listening to” section on the website backs up their diverse tastes, but their recorded output sounds to my ears like they’re a little too concerned, whether deliberately or not, with what’s currently fashionable back home – namely snottily-delievered garage rock (or some narrow variant thereof). Despite this, there’s still some definite potential there – they can play and sing, there’s good musical ideas in the mix and there’s an innate melodicism that can’t be denied. They’re offering the whole of their debut EP for free download off their website right now, including artwork (though they should know that the PDF link for the insert is broken), but if they keep growing and developing, they won’t have to be giving their music away for much longer.
np – Metric / Live It Out