- by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2016-08-26 Label: Empty Cellar Records
With an almost psych-folk feel to their third album, Magic Trick offer up Other Man’s Blues. Tim Cohen, of The Fresh & Onlys, brings more of that charm to his other band, filled out by his friends from San Francisco.
There’s an immediate lack of pep to this album. ‘More’ is like a folk-hymnal for a cult, capturing ethereal, desert vocals, lacking anything to warrant a repeat. This formula plays out across the majority of the album, but there are splashes of fun - namely from a brass section (‘Forest of Kates’) or from gnarly guitar bends (‘Eternal Summer’).
Harmonies from the female members of the band, Alicia Vanden Heuvel, Anna Hillburg and Noelle Cahill, gives extra dimension and depth to the rather dreary lead. Only ‘First Thought’ has heel-bumping slice of energy to it, with the hooky line “I don’t know, I couldn’t say, but my wheels are turning”.
Over the course of the album, your mind is turned on this band. There is something likeable about the music, even if it isn’t exactly as mind-blowing as it might like to be. A Fleetwood Mac, Rumours vibe persists, with ‘Mockingbird’ being the culmination of that mixture. It doesn’t exactly meet those phenomenal heights, but there’s plenty to suggest this friendly rapport could blossom into better and better songs.
On Tim Cohen’s Bandcamp page you can find an album listed as Tim Cohen’s Magic Trick, and a few other release from 2011 onwards. Clearly this is Tim’s project, and there is plenty of interesting material knocking around in addition to their two other albums, it’s just that nothing quite digs it’s claws into you quite as it should. Trapped between ideals, this is a fine enough record, but multiple listens aren’t really required.