Sunday, February 20

Living With My Sadness

This is a Press Release. It’s a record label Press Release, so it’s possibly a little biased. Here goes:

Your first must-go gig of the year? Hal are heading out on tour rotating the headline slot with their compadres in sound, the similarly magnificent The Magic Numbers – a guaranteed evening of blue eyed country soul and pure pop love. As if these paragons of socialist co-operation and musical one-ness weren’t enough to drag your detoxing posterior off the sofa, every night the first 50 people through the door each night will get a very limited and beautifully exclusive double A sided 7" - one side is the beautiful HAL track KEEP LOVE AS YOUR GOLDEN RULE with HAL artwork, the other side is The Magic Numbers track ANIMA SOLA with their own artwork. Record geek heaven and believe us, future ebay gold dust. Gig now, invest later!

I’m sorry, but call me an old cynic….. Well, I’ve heard a couple of Magic Numbers things on record, and they sound interesting. Not gripping, but a couple of tracks isn’t enough to base a firm judgement upon. But anyone interested in music that nods in the direction of things like Mercury Rev, and older American stuff that acknowledges the power of harmony and melody, like The Mamas and the Papas and The Lovin’ Spoonful, and which has apparently even been called "folktronica"..... well, you’re going to give them a chance, I guess. They played Nottingham last night, and we were there. This is them: Or these are they:


On stage, they are all smiles and hair. They are also nearly all bass, guitar and drum. The musical invention and diversity puffed up in their publicity, and apparent on the couple of snippets I’ve heard on record, is left to one of the girls banging a tambourine and occasionally grabbing a melodica. But she’s drowned out in the general hubbub. Only in the one-song encore did they display any significant finesse. Here, the vocals took precedence over the guitar, and it sounded fine, but by that time I was too bored to care much. We had, after all, also had to listen to Hal. Hal is a pop group. They might be a very hip and cool pop group but they are a pop group with pop group looks who wouldn’t be out of place on next week’s "Top of the Pops". I think they probably also had some okay pop songs, in a fey whiney kind of a way, but the couple in the front row of the audience and just in front of us who spent all evening snogging each other were much too distracting and amusingly entertaining. If the music had been anything worth writing home about I might not have spent so much time wondering if Acne Boy was actually going to chew his girl’s face off before the night was through. You can see the mood I was in, can’t you? My friends arrived early enough to each snap up a copy of the free single. I didn't, but I will learn to live with my sadness.

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