Friday, September 6, 2019

The Magic Es, Dead Star, 2019

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

When The Magic Es released their debut It Goes On in 2017, it quickly became my favorite album of the year.

Since It Goes On, the band has released six singles none of which were on that album. I've reviewed two of these singles, "Nothing In Your Way" and "Splinters" for CoolDad and only "Splinters" is on the new album; the single "Into The Fading Light" was released in July to whet appetites for the release of Dead Star so I'm not counting it as a separate single. It's pretty impressive that, after all these singles, The Magic Es have come up with a completely new set of songs for Dead Star.

The Magic Es are Pete Thompson on vocals and guitars, Jasper Stainthorpe on bass, and Stuart Catchpole on drums and background vocals. Over the course of the last two years they have become a tighter, more focused group.

And they continue to be the best British rock and roll band since Oasis. Dead Star is ten songs of pure power-chord delight. But the Magic Es have no problem bashing out the tunes, and aren't afraid to slow things down from time to time.

"Everybody Knows" hits listeners right between the eyes. Just when you think you know where it's going, the song slows down for a breath and then rocks out again. The single, and now album track, "Splinters," features a three-pronged attack on your earbuds with Stainthorpe's melodic bass, Thompson's rhythm and lead guitar work, and some major drum action from Catchpole.

"New Starts" is a straight-ahead pop/rocker with crunching guitars and the rhythm section of Stainthorpe and Catchpole really hitting their marks. The catchy "Someone Like You," which is about someone who just makes you feel good when you're with them, is not far behind in this album's pop tunefest.

"Spaces" slows things down a bit and recalls the splendid "Cellar Door" from It Goes On. It contains some fantastic drumming from Catchpole that's right up front in the mix and a terrific guitar solo from Thompson.

"This Is A Feeling" is in the same vein and is another reminder of The Magic Es' great sense of moods and rhythms that drew me to them in the first place. And it includes the line "Here we are / Wishing on a dead star / Dreaming of a last chance / Where do we start?" that gives the album its title. Catchpole's drumming again is a major factor in the song's arrangement, and Thompson provides a strong vocal that matches the dynamics of the song.

Dead Star is out now and available at

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