Friday, August 1, 2014

CASSETTE REVIEW: Magi “Silver” (Juniper Tree Songs)

                When it comes to rock bands, there are often signs of the usual suspects: The Beatles and EFS in the best of them, but it is more than often that something special extra which truly makes the band what it is.    Magi has something beyond that typical band and what it is I cannot exactly say and I don’t even think it’s pulled from the influences.

                For almost the entire cassette “Silver”, Magi has a background of Phil Collins type of drums.   These enhance the already magical feel to this cassette, as it seemingly already a staple in the rock scene though it just came out.   I don’t remember the first time that I heard The Beatles.   I know I heard The Beatles (amongst other artists) a lot before I actually connected that it was them, but I’m not sure at which point I actually sat down and put on one of their cassettes.  

                “Silver” has that factor of putting on a purely classic cassette- like the first time you heard The Beatles or anything you might put on that had been out for decades and time tested- and listening to it for the first time.   When you hear it, immediately you will think, “Yeah, I can see why everyone likes this and why they have since before I was born”.    Though, again, this is a recent release still.

                Pieces of modern bands such as Copeland do come out, along with that “Walking on a Wire” era Get Up Kids.    It’s got some random speaking bits, but also this sort of hypnotic sense to the background of it.   It’s not subliminal messages as much as it feels like you want to stop whatever else you are doing and focus directly on this and this cassette alone.    It took me a few listens to figure that one out, because I was so used to listening to this via earbuds while doing nothing else.

                It might be the Catholic in me (Catholic school from kindergarten to Grade 4), but I also really enjoy the line: “They held you under / holy water”, which just does in some ways bring out the notion that baptizing people is not that far away from drowning them really, now is it?  

                I’d never heard of Magi before this cassette, though I am familiar with The Gift of the Magi, and I’m trying to figure out a good way to put that story into here, though there isn’t specifically one in the sense that I had to part with my cassette player to buy this cassette or anything.   But it does go back to the familiarity.   Far too many television shows have adapted The Gift of the Magi, especially in Christmas themed episodes, and whenever I see it I’m just like, “Yup, Gift of the Magi.   Oh, Henry!!”   “Silver” has that familiarity, yet it doesn’t lack originality and for that this goes beyond a gift and becomes a blessing. 

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