Hype. Nobody likes this word, but inevitably at some point we all get sucked into it. Yes I’m talking to you with the Vines record and you over there with your Muse record, and let’s not for get you over there in the corner clutching your Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! record. You all fell for it. It’s unfortunate to be manipulated in such a way. But hey, it happens.
So that brings us to the Magic Numbers. The Magic Numbers are currently riding the wave of borderline over-hyped press. However, much like in the case of Franz Ferdinand or even the Strokes, the Magic Numbers self-titled debut is actually really good.
The Magic Numbers are the kind of band that you just sit back and enjoy. It’s not difficult to listen to; they aren’t trying to challenge the listener. They just want you to listen and it is an absolute pleasure to do so.
The first half of the record is packed with up-tempo numbers that are so bright and infectious that is almost creepy. Kind of like the Polyphonic Spree but without the 900 members and numerous hits of acid. Tracks like “Love Me Like You” and the current single “Forever Lost” are guaranteed to be stuck in your head for weeks upon weeks. Lead singer Romeo Stodart’s soft voice, resembling Cat Stevens, packs so much earnestness into it that you forget about the fact that the lyrics dabble too much in are borderline cliché and rather general.
As catchy and fun as the first half of the record is to listen to when the Magic Numbers slow down they really show off their undeniable talent. The Magic Numbers work in their Motown/early R’n’B influences on these later songs to great effect. The peak of this record is the song “I See You, You See Me” which might actually be the best song recorded this year. Granted, I’m a bit of a sucker for duets, but this song is flawless, taking the listener along for the ride as they describe the tale of two lovers who shouldn’t be together, but, of course, can’t stay apart. The only problem with this song is the fact that at this point the listener wonders, “Why aren’t there more female (either Michele Stodart, or Angela Gannon, its not made clear by the liner notes) vocals in the rest of the songs?!”
The Magic Numbers self-tiled debut ends on a triumphant note with the mesmerizing “Hymn For Her.” “Hymn For Her’s” humble hush beings make the climax of the song that much more satisfying. A perfect ending for one of the most enjoyable records released this year. Well worth the unbearable hype.
(Heavenly / Capitol Records)