The Magic Numbers - Those The Brokes

So they've returned. The bunch of slightly related, easily offended, Fleetwood Mac influenced The Magic Numbers. The twee goodness of their debut never quite caught my imagination, but I caught them live at the V Festival back in 2005 and was impressed with their energy and genuine love for their audience - the songs had a sparkle that could do nothing but draw those thousands of people in a field together in unison.

Where their debut had moments of joyfully optimistic music, it hid the dark matter of their songs - their happy, smiley and twee strummings always covered up the fact that their songs mainly dealt with loss, rejection and the darker side of love. That hasn't really changed here, recent single Take A Chance is a case in point, the upbeat guitars and vocal harmonies hide the sinister underpinnings of the lyrics with their "It's a crying shame that the love you've made, is a cross that you bear" refrain.

However, this record just doesn't show a development of their sound or writing. The songs are too long, half of them clock in over five minutes, outstaying their welcome. Their gentle acoustic meanderings aren't really ground breaking anyway, but stretch their harmonies and girlie back ground vocals over songs twice as long as most and you just want it to stop. Their soft-rock pieces will probably keep mothers across the UK happy whilst they do their house-cleaning, but otherwise the melodies just wash over you and merge into one another. There's nothing, other than the leading single, which jumps out at you, it's all a little one-paced and bland. There's not a song that comes close to the pop gems of Love Me Like You and Love's a Game from the debut.

This may well be the "difficult" second album, and it certainly is to listen to, it just feels like the Magic Numbers need to lighten up a bit and go back to listening to the records that influenced their debut and put some fun back in their lives.



out of 10
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