Some Manchester acts reunions weren’t as publicised as the Stone Roses, but when Magazine reconvened back in 2009 with a series of dates, alot of muso’s took note. Two years on a fair few gigs (quite a few I attended) down the line they’ve produced the first studio album for 30 years! Something I didn’t expect to see I must admit, but I am happy to say it’s been worth the long wait.
The album opens with the sumptuous ‘Do The Meaning‘ an uptempo track with the familiar intellectual lyrics. In fact this is the only track with female backing vocals brought to the forefront. A common feature on their last few albums to compliment lead vocalist Howard Devoto. Next up is the song ‘Other Thematic Material‘ which reminds us of the classic Magazine sound of old with the trademark keyboard overtones of Dave Formula.
Any song to mention Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain with a theme of death seems a strange subject to touch on but that’s what you get with ‘Hello Mr Curtis (With Apologies)‘. The quirky song has the line “I’ve made my decision to die like a king, like Elvis“, read into it what you will. The songs redeeming feature though is Noko’s striking guitar that would make John McGeoch (sadly died in 2004) proud.
‘Holy Dotage‘ is the track which harks back to the spikey origins of the band where John Doyle’s drums are beefed up and new member John White (who replaced Barry Adamson – wanted to pursue solo projects) showed his metal making up a strong rhythm section.; contender for a single? Strikingly the next two tracks seem to pay homage to Pink Floyd’s ‘Wall era’. Slow eerie, strange vocals dominate ‘Of Course Howard (1979)‘ where Noko’s guitar strikes out to cut the tension built up by Howard’s vocals. The theme continues with ‘Final Analysis Waltz‘ where Dave’s arrangements strengthen the feel to it, always a band to experiment and not be content with past laurels.
To contradict this ‘The Burden Of A Song‘ is probably the only song which reminds me of an old track ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me‘ being the one in question. They’d probably work very well in the live set side by side. The bonus track ‘Blisterpack Blues‘ ends off this impressive return by Magazine, you can only acquire this format online via Wire Sound. I’m really am looking forward to the forthcoming tour to hear them live. Rating 8/10.