Magic Bullets - Magic Bullets
Record Label: Mon Amie Records
Release Date: June 15, 2010
Well, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Johnny Marr must have been exponentially stoked on life after hearing this album. There's virtually no way to discuss Magic Bullets without mentioning The Smiths and their obvious influence on this album and many others, and this is coming from a guy who's barely scratched the surface of The Smiths musical legacy.
Perhaps the fact that I've never been an uber-fan of Marr and Co. allowed me to enjoy this album moreso than the average music fanatic. Corey Cunningham's guitar work is easily the highlight of the album for me; his quirky guitar lines feel fresh after repeated listens, and fit perfectly in the context of every song, even though the Johnny Marr adoration is easy to hear. As the primary songwriter, Cunningham can hardly be faulted for letting his jangly, chiming chords steal the spotlight consistently over the course of the album; album closer "Sigh The Day Away" will be particularly hard to get out of your head.
Where the previous comparisons fall short, unfortunately, is where the album as a whole feels lacking. Philip Benson is no Morrissey; in fact, his vocals are flat, monotonous, and not well suited to this type of music at all. For an album that could've been a ball of sunshine knocked right out of the park, that aspect of Magic Bullets is disappointing. Still, this is a sunny, jangly collection of well-written tunes that will appeal to fans of 80's UK pop done right; less manic than Jukebox The Ghost, not quite as feverishly catchy as Ra Ra Riot, and clearly leagues behind their legendary Smith-ian idols, Magic Bullets are still a group that can hold their own in the indie scene. And if Benson can spitshine his vocal abilities and the band can tinker with some sleeker, less lo-fi production, this band has the potential to deliver a big statement of their own.