Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: The Magic Numbers, Those the Brokes

By their second album, Those the Brokes, The Magic Numbers have accomplished something many bands strive to do without success their entire careers – they are instantly identifiable the moment they open their mouths.  They are unique.  Although they sound nothing like them, The Magic Numbers bring The Momma’s and Poppa’s to mind.  Both bands featured a set of remarkably well meshed voices combined with fresh and exciting vocal arrangements.  The complimentarity of voices in The Magic Numbers is partly genetic as two of the three vocalists, Romeo and Michele Stodart, are brother and sister.  The other singer, Angela Gannon, is sister to drummer Sean.  Makes you wonder if they considered naming themselves The Brothers and Sisters to draw the line back to the Momma and Poppas. 

In contrast to The Momma and the Pappas, The Magic Numbers all play instruments and their musical accompanyment is an integral part of their songs.  Michele Stodart is an especially effective bassist.  In large part due to the nature of their voices their music is irrevocably sweet – sweet but not saccharin.  At least for the most part.  At times, as on “Take Me or Leave Me” a sodden, string drenched, broken-hearted lament, they lose the off-beat melodic and vocal arrangements that make the rest of their music so appealing.  The results are not good. 

Romeo Stoddart writes and sings lead vocal on most of the tunes.  When listening to their first album I thought that with singers of this quality it would be nice to spread the love and shift the lead around among the group.  Not that Stoddart is a bad vocalist, far from it, but using the two women’s voices in a lead role would give him a wider palette to work with.  Michele sings lead on “Undecided” and the result is a knockout, one of the better tunes on the album.

The album is fairly well, but at times sloppily, recorded.  For example, the first track, “This Is A Song” which is one of the better tunes on the CD, opens with a crystalline chime or bell note that reverberates alone for a brief time.  The sound of the note is striking – full, rounded and rich.  You can feel the space around the note.  Unfortunately you can also hear someone talking in the background.  They should have either cleaned it up or rerecorded the note and told the fool to shut up while the mike was live but they did neither.

In content and tone Those the Brokes is very similar to their self-titled first album.  They don’t always nail it and when they miss, they miss by a lot.  But that’s because they’re not afraid to try something different and when they hit it, which they do often, there’s nothing else like them.  If you enjoy inventive vocal harmony combined with beautifully blended voices, The Magic Numbers is a band that’s very much worth checking out.

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02/09/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music

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