The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

 |   |  1 min read

The Magic Numbers: A Start with No Ending
The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

By abandoning the pure pop-economy of their terrific, 05 self-titled debut for the more embellished and ambitious sound Those the Brokes in 06, this English outfit of two sets of siblings lost followers, and momentum.

But where that debut was a radio/car album, Brokes was a headphones experience.

The openers here – a string-enhanced five minutes of The Pulse and the gently undulating, vocal harmonies of Hurt So Good – suggest another to enjoy at leisure.

As with Brokes, this album is soaked in Brian Wilson/Beach Boys and the most trippy folkadelic end of the Mamas and the Papas, but also has nods to innocent late 50s pop ballads (A Start with No Ending)

With strings again arranged by the late Robert Kirby (who worked with Nick Drake, Elton John and Elvis Costello), there are places where the music here takes flight: Why Did You Call? rides slippery percussion and quivering guitar chords, Restless River is gorgeous folk-pop with acappella harmonies which slides into the equally gentle and pastoral Only Seventeen. The swoon of The Song That No One Knows sounds like Paul Weller-soul.

But a few lesser moments (Throwing My Heart Away which feels over-long at just four minutes) and a running order that pushes the pop to the far end, means this doesn't offer itself up readily.

The problem most will have is the lack of immediate pop hooks and that often the mini-epic quality of some of these constantly morphing songs (the shapeless Once I Had) never quite goes anywhere – other than indulging in their own loveliness.

But if you thought Brokes much better than most gave it credit, there's more than enough aural seduction here for another stamp on your MN loyalty card.

And there is another of those annoying "hidden" tracks buried away at the end . . . but in this instance it a gentle string piece by Kirby to whom the album is dedicated.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

The 3D's: Early Recordings 1989-90 (Flying Nun)

The 3D's: Early Recordings 1989-90 (Flying Nun)

Inspired by everything from the Pixies and Neil Young's El Dorado EP, sonic noise and folk music, the 3D's were a Flying Nun band which inspired passionate loyalty for the visceral power of their... > Read more

SJD: Saint John Divine (Round Trip Mars)

SJD: Saint John Divine (Round Trip Mars)

In many places on previous albums SJD (Sean James Donnelly) has reached towards an almost spiritual sensibility in music which is elevating and airy, and suggests the sublime . . . albeit in a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PAUL McCARTNEY: TUG OF WAR, CONSIDERED (1982): The Mac was back?

PAUL McCARTNEY: TUG OF WAR, CONSIDERED (1982): The Mac was back?

When Paul McCartney left Wings and the Seventies behind he delivered his still interesting McCartney II album of songs and electronic experiments. Danny Baker in the... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES: SWEET SUMMER SUN; HYDE PARK LIVE  (Shock CD/DVD)

THE ROLLING STONES: SWEET SUMMER SUN; HYDE PARK LIVE (Shock CD/DVD)

Recently a music blogger asserted boldly the Stones had never done a decent version of Satisfaction live which – unless he'd seen the thousands of Stones shows since mid 65 –... > Read more