Adult Magic – s/t LP (Specialist Subject Records / Dead Broke Rekerds, 2019)

Adult Magic are an indie punk 3-piece outfit from Long Island, featuring members of Iron Chic, Broadcaster, Crow Bait, Sister Kisser, Get Bent & more. Those of you with empty enough lives and heads may well remember me reviewing their previous s/t EP back in 2016 when it originally came out via Dead Broke Rekerds, and again when Drunken Sailor Records released the European edition in 2017 (I don’t normally re-publish stuff, but I felt like this one needed it!!).

So, this opus has apparently been 2 years in the making. Whereas the previous EP I had likened to The Weakerthans, Able Baker Fox and Jets to Brazil and so on, I feel like this one seems a bit different. Whilst, er, not being a huge departure from that sound… I’d mentioned in my review of the EP that I had expected them to sound like Iron Chic, well, this to me sounds quite a bit like that, but also has a really cool Doughboys meets Pinkerton era Weezer and Very Emergency era Promise Ring element to it too.

Right now, this record seems like the exact thing I’m looking for: hooky, thick guitars, upbeat tunes, downbeat lyrics. For it is perpetually early Autumn in my tiny mind. Or something like that. But that Weezer /Promise Ring vibe… particularly on The Other Side… mate!!

I’m really enjoying the shared vocal duties on this record, which add variety to the LP, and yet more character. The more listens through I give this, the more convinced I feel that this could be the indie / punk crossover record of the year. I mean, it’s only June or whatever, so the year is yet half-formed, but there is a huge amount set out for anyone else to have to live up to here…

Is it weird of me to point out the understated “oohs and aahs” that lend infectious harmonies to proceedings? Is it weird? I dunno. I feel totally in love with it though. These seem to stand as direct counterpoint to the lyrical themes of self-recrimination and social ennui that weave their way through these songs. There’s this amazingly heart-melting female vocal given by Mimi Gallagher of Eight in Demotivation that recalls equal parts Julianna Hatfield and Sheena Ozzella from Lemuria. It’s a contributing vocal that recurs throughout the record.

The time signature and riff on the verse part of Sign of the Times puts me bizarrely in mind of what it would sound like if early Pavement was to cover Bad Religion’s 20th Century Digital Boy. It’s ludicrously inspired. This is followed by total shout-along-athon, Many Moons Ago, which is an album highlight, which has a lead and backing vocal performance that oddly reminds me of Samiam. I think it’s the closer Always that really seals the deal for me on this one, though. It’s a most triumphant cut that is currently my jam, mate.

Tony of Nurgle rating: 9.5/10

Have a check of the barnstorming first track, Achin’ for yourself:

Pressing info: 300 Black vinyl, 100 Red vinyl (Dead Broke Exclusive), 100 Clear Blue (Specialist Subject Excl.) LP comes w/ download code.

Preorder available now from:
Dead Broke Rekerds (US)
Specialist Subject Records (Europe)

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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