Magic Eight Ball are an energetic trio from the south of England led by musician Baz Francis. After several EPs and singles, the band brings us its first LP (with the appropriate title). One thing you get immediately from the opener, “Something Better Has Come Along,” Baz is a big fan of Jellyfish and Enuff Znuff. His vocals are amazingly similar to Andy Sturmer here and Jellyfish fans will just feed off that and the swirling guitar riffs. It continues throughout this fast-paced album. The sweet “Baby, Is It So?” slows the pace a little just to let us know everything is fine, and its highlighted by an amazing guitar solo at the break. The band also pays tribute with the song “Big Star,” delivering the jangle and harmonies similar to the classic “September Gurls.”
Every song on this album has a compelling big hook and melody from the heavy crunch guitars (“Before It Was Murder” featuring Donnie Vie) to the gentle ballads (“Monkey Bars.”) A great mix of the crunchy-sweet is found in the standout “Russian Ballet” (reminded me of Ice Cream Hands as well) and it deserves a spot as a contender for my 2013 top ten list. Better late than never.