Music Review // Strange Magic "Mirrors & Smoke"

Having the name Strange Magic with the album title "Mirrors & Smoke" makes me think a lot about magicians.  I've always enjoyed magic in that sense, mainly because I was curious as to how certain tricks would work.  Magic also tends to have that quality of misdirection, which I think can be heard in the music of Strange Magic on this album.   You might think from the start that this album is going one way, but then it takes a turn in another direction.

Right away this album comes out with these big acoustics.   There is a lot of melody, but by the end of the first song it dives into this distortion which just makes it so much louder.   Even while hearing the acoustic side of this, there is still something electric in here- an energy that buzzes through.   While I feel like this has elements of Weezer at times, it also comes through with that MPLS rock sound as well as Tom Petty.

The acoustics carry on throughout the album.  "Icebox Magnet Status", for example, is a slow acoustic number that winds.   "Best Friends Forever" can drift off into that Pink Floyd space and it ends on a dreamy guitar solo.   "Viewer Discretion Advised" is my favorite song on this album, a definite single, and it has strong Tom Petty vibes as well.   These songs are bright and full, somewhere between Ben Kweller and Typhoon.  

With magic tricks, the idea is for you to focus on the left hand while the right hand is doing something tricky.   In that same way, you can listen to this, hear the acoustics and think it's going to be that type of album, but then Strange Magic pulls out a song or a piece of a song which proves otherwise.   Every time you feel like you've got this sound down, it seems to switch it up and become something else.  Perhaps that is the true magic within music.  


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