Love of Too Much Living – The Magic Lantern (Smugglers Records) reviewed by Dave Franklin)

10370805_10152564877932550_7406176492393250158_nSharing a producer/engineer with Laura Marling and Stornaway and having treaded the boards alongside the likes of Cocos Lovers means that in the punters eyes you are carrying a whole world of expectations on your shoulders, whether they like it or not. Add to that the fact that none other than Bob Harris and Tom Robinson lauded the previous 5-piece incarnation of The Magic Lantern and the load only gets heavier. No pressure then! Thankfully this is an album that delivers, in spades. It may not deliver quite what you were expecting based on past form but change is a good thing right?

 

These days The Magic Lantern is the vehicle for core member Jamie Doe and whilst the previous full band outing under this name was never the most claustrophobic of affairs, this solo version strips back into even more intensely atmospheric and minimalist territory. Dashes of nu-folk cool run through the songs as do less expected bubbling West African vibes (No Ones Fault) and the whole lot has a style and delivery that seems to tip hats to Buckley’s Snr. And Jnr. at the same time, a neat trick if you can do it.

 

Many solo artists fail to deliver because they miss the fact that there is a whole bunch of less tangible but massively important instruments they forget to call into play. Talent and musical dexterity will only get you so far, but the knowledge of atmospherics, song dynamics, musical personality and that bridge between player and listener – the feeling that even via the recorded medium, the musician seems to be in the room with you – are all just as important. Not only is Jamie Doe aware of this, he works them like few else are able.

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