If there was one thing about downloads that was upsetting, it was the idea that people would just pick and choose individual songs and render the album and the b-side extinct. Depriving the likes of Lars Ulrich and Bono of a few quid just seemed like a happy by-product of illegal file sharing, but even when the practice was legitimate, the impending doom that faced the tradition of the long player seemed like a heavy price to pay for convenience.
Having heard Magic Wands’ latest effort all we can say is, God bless the download. If ever there were a reason to pick and choose tunes from a band’s latest release, then Magic, Love and Dreams is exhibit A, m’lud.
So you should rush out and buy… Sorry, that’s not right. You should stay in and feverishly source a digital file by Magic Wands by the name of Kiss Me Dead. It’s a fantastic piece of gothic disco pop that combines the drones of Velvet Underground, the early electro sound of New Order and a dark and dreamy vocal line that is both emotionally raw and dead at the same time. It reminds us very much of the first time we heard End Credits by Laptop, and anything that does that has the mark of genius about it.
It goes without saying then that from here on things take a distinct turn for the worse. Warrior has the kind of drums on it that make us want to burn all synths and drum machines. It reeks of all the worst bits of ’80s synth pop, and even though it tries to retain the aloof feel that pervades Kill Me Dead it just comes across as posturing.Black Magic is about as special as the chocolates it shares its name with. A wiry guitar line tries to conjure up early Garbage and just winds up sounding rubbish.
Teenage Love is a little better drifting along in pop haze that is pretty close to 80s school disco perfection. You can almost imagine a soft focus video featuring a wildly coiffured temptress dressed exclusively in lace as she rolls around on four-poster bed lamenting a distinctly American High School flavoured romance gone bad. Alternatively you could picture Deborah Harry rolling around with Cyndi Lauper – just for fun.
Starships is another attempt at a Garbage rip-off that falls flat on account of it being bereft of a tune, and in possession of some truly awful drum sounds. It’s nearly rescued by a pretty chorus, but by then the damage is already done.
So. Magic Wands have vindicated the download, with their EP. Damn you Magic Wands. Good work on Kiss Me Dead though.