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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magic Magic at the Middle East- Cambridge, MA

Sleeping In The Aviary
Magic Magic

Local band Magic Magic played the Middle East Upstairs Thursday night, coming off a mini-tour of the east coast. “It was good, fun, haphazardly put together, last minute,” said lead singer John Murphy.

Opening for Magic Magic was Wisconsin based band Sleeping In The Aviary. They were as good an opening band as any, channeling the Dead Milkmen and the Hives. They weren’t stellar but had their moments in the frantic set. They also loaded up on antics including a bubble machine, party horns and even an electric saw played during one of their folksier songs. That’s right, a saw, as they went from fast punk power chords, into a more macabre country number.

Magic Magic is always a terrific show to see. Their shows are just as John described their tour, fun and haphazard. The Dedham based band’s set relied heavily on their independently released second albumLP II.

The band is built on a giant and quirky rhythm section. It starts with the two drummers, who work together to make intricate and forceful beats. Slid on top is a lead guitar that can be both murky and punchy. They use their jittery bassist to glue it together, and on top of it all is John and his rhythm guitar. The final product is frenzied indie pop gold.

It’s a little hard to quite put your finger on their sound which incorporates a lot of different textures. Me calling them pop is a little bit of a cop out, but songs like “Shore” showcase what the band is. It starts off with rough heavy thumping and guitar twinkles, John singing softly over harmonizing by lead guitarist Brendan Hughes. Then it changes. The beat turns into a complicated stop and go click clack. Brendan adds reverbed-out sliding guitar licks. John politely sings “where does the good go?” and he starts slowly then hysterically howling “what feels good, must be good.” John is reminiscent of a small child demanding to be heard. He’ll be crooning and then all of the sudden he is yelling, making faces the entire time. He is always joking between sets, partly to the band, partly to the crowd and partly to himself.

The band is going in to hibernation for a little while to work on their third album T.V. Life, due out this summer. “We need to figure out how to play it live,” Brendan said. To describe the new material John rattled off: “different, weird, shorter and more instrumentation.” The band said they hope they don’t have to put out this album independently. Any label would be smart to pick up the band that is Boston’s best kept secret.

Also For Boston University's The Daily Free Press

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