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Superficial – Magazine Gap (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Perhaps the best thing that a journalist can say about a slice of music which finds itself under the reviewing pen is that it is easy to write about. That may not seem very important or very cool but with the amount of derivative music being made, re-inventing of the wheel, or people just happy to promote style over substance, I think making music which brings easy description and stimulates interesting writing is pretty much what every band should aim for. Superficial in particular and Magazine Gap in general are easy to write about.

So what is it about them which causes the words to flow so readily? Let’s start with the melodies. The guitar line is simple, understated and to the point, not for them the need to bury things under a layer of double tracked guitars, additional rhythms and surplus to requirement riff-a-rama, they just lay down their melody and follow it to its natural conclusion. This opens the music up so that the beat becomes more than just something to hang the song on, as it is in much pop and rock, those occasional, subtle fills and spacious grooves now become part of the song’s design rather than merely the engine room. 

And with all this space between and around the core beat and melody it would be easy to shovel in additional instrumentation. Again, no! Magazine Gap are smarter than that. Some cascading piano and a distant string wash and you have everything that you need. It feels, in the case of this band at least,  that the less you do musically, the more there is to talk about, provided you understand just which bits of less have the most impact…if you know what I mean. Add to that direct, straight-forward and relatable lyrics and it’s a case of job done!

Magazine Gap revel in a blend of indie, pop and soul, not a new concept of course but as always it is all about the delivery and it is the fact that these guys are confident enough in their playing and composition that they only need to sketch out the guidelines, gently colour the interior with groovesome sonic hues and let the natural atmospherics between the music take care of the rest which sets them apart from the pop also-rans!

It’s an eggs and basket situation. Why give away the goods in one hit only to muddle and mangle the song with too many ideas? It’s also about serving the song, knowing just what it needs and saving the next cool idea or killer riff for another time. And that is exactly what is happening here, and a quick check of their track record shows that this isn’t a lucky fluke but a complete modus operandi.

Like I say, the band and their music is easy to write about, they even have me using latin and that certainly doesn’t happen very often! Blimus!

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