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 articles index

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature/Southbound)

When one-time Kiwi/longtime New Yorker Dean Wareham's former band Luna got to open for Velvet Underground at their brief reunion in '93 it must have semed like a dream come true: Luna owed a... > Read more

Mirel Wagner: When the Cellar Children See The Light of Day (subPop)

Mirel Wagner: When the Cellar Children See The Light of Day (subPop)

Pitched somewhere between a weary self-analysing Kurt Cobain acoustic session, Mazzy Star raised on death ballads and P.J Harvey's most introspective work, this concise collection – 10... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Nightmare from Down Under: Paying the price for gluttony

The Nightmare from Down Under: Paying the price for gluttony

The small city of Melaka two hours south of Kuala Lumpur is considered the cuisine capital of Malaysia, and my happy task there for a few days was to sample then write about the various foods --... > Read more

LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FABULOUS: Money for nothing and the chicks for free

LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FABULOUS: Money for nothing and the chicks for free

"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we... > Read more