Magic Brothers “The Magic Line”
Another gem from the UK that needs to be discovered; The Magic Brothers are Daniel “Woody” Woodgate and his younger brother, Nick. Both were part of the legendary UK band Madness (Woody, the drummer and Nick, wrote songs) but they let their power pop freak flag fly here. “Always Be With You” starts us off as richly dense melody that recalls both ELO and Madness with blaring horns and “Ooh La La” harmonies.
“You Don’t Have To Hide Your Love Away”is a lovely mid-tempo ballad that’s pitch perfect and the atmospheric “The River” has a pristine guitar solo after the main chorus. Many songs looks back on childhood, and the melodic tone is similar to Supertramp or Squeeze. “Tysea Hill” and “Smile” are also great tracks amongst many good ones. Each song is a vignette that fits neatly alongside one another. Technically this is a 2013 UK release, but seeing how it’s gotten little press here I’ll count it as my first top ten candidate for 2014, because I believe in the power of Magic (Brothers).
Andy Klingensmith “Bright Again” EP
The soft baroque sounds of Andy Klingensmith are back. “Bright Again” starts with simple guitar, Jay Gummert on woodwinds and Riley Smith on drums, it starts as a light folk anthem that builds nicely to a harmonious pop crescendo. “No Control” and “Oh Miss No Name” boasts even better harmonies, following a template similar to Crosby, Stills & Nash or The Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Then the simple slow “The Parade” floats in like a lost Simon and Garfunkel classic. There is definitely a growth spurt musically here, as Andy’s compositions and harmonies gradually get more complex — and I can’t wait for the next stage. Another bonus is that this album is on Bandcamp as a “Name-Your-Price” point. Enjoy.