The Magic Numbers – Outsiders
Role Play Records – 11 May 2018
Following their recent pattern of an album every four years, Michele having slipped in her second solo outing in the interim, the Stodart siblings return with their fifth, this time via Role Play Records. Woven around a character-led theme of, as the title suggests, outsiders and misfits, the sound has far beefier electric guitars, offering up a 70s rock feel, as evidenced on the opening track Shotgun Wedding with its punchy Bo and Bolan riffs and driving bass line. Again, this is swiftly reinforced by Ride Against The Wind, the story of a group of women that, fed up with conforming in their daily lives, form a female biker gang. Musically it nods to Fleetwood Mac (with perhaps a dash of desert soul America), although they never used Joe Walsh wah-wah guitar licks.
That Rumours baton is picked up on the rumbling, confidentially sung ‘damaged goods’ themed Runaways with the vocal interplay between Romeo Stodart and Angela Gannon and the gathering storm of guitars and keyboards, while in contrast, The Keeper is another clear nod to Marc Bolan with its chugging glam riff, easy action rhythm and Romeo’s vocal delivery, even if it, at times, also shades towards both Steve Harley and Bowie. Spreading the love around, the guitar distortion, falsetto vocals and grinding, glowering riffage of Sweet Divide summons up Neil Young’s more tumultuous moments. To underscore the range on offer, you get Wayward, a soft acoustic country number balanced with the dreamily laid back Power Lines that marries a Philly soul keyboards groove and Glen Campbell (doubtless an outcrop of Romeo touring with Jimmy Webb) with a warm trombone solo as a bonus.
And if you have a hankering for some swelling anthemic 60s pop ballad drama, look no further than the glorious Dreamer with its plangent guitar descending power chords and ebullient harmonies as it heads towards the swelling climax.
Following the more introspective, intimate and quietly sung Lost Children with its spare, bluesy electric guitar accompaniment, it ends with Sing Me A Rebel Song. The latter is an epic six minutes plus number that, accompanied by swirling keyboard clouds, a steady but muted drum beat and a lyric that slips in a line from Everybody’s Talkin’, has, especially in its chorus, the underlying power and emotion of a Meatloaf drama, but without the thundering bombast. It closes on a dying fade of backwards tapes, sonorous piano notes and a final ethereal shimmer into the cosmos. “You ain’t got that magic anymore”, sings Romeo. Don’t believe a word of it.
Out now: Digital | CD | Vinyl
UK & Ireland Tour Dates
May 18 | Esquires, Bedford
May 19 | The Scholar, Leicester
May 21 | The Bullingdon, Oxford
May 22 | Colchester Arts Centre, Colchester
May 23 | West End Arts Centre, Aldershot
May 28 | Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
May 29 | Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
May 30 | Arts Centre, Pocklington
May 31 | The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
June 2 | The Cluny, Newcastle
June 3 | The Caves, Edinburgh
June 4 | The Old Fire Station, Carlisle
June 5 | The Georgian Theatre, Stockton
June 7 | Empire, Belfast
June 8 | Cyprus Avenue, Cork, IRE
June 9 | Roisin Dubh, Galway, IRE
June 10 | Whelans, Dublin, IRE
June 12 | Arts Club, Liverpool
June 13 | Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich
June 16 | Labour Live, White Hart Lane, London
Photo Credit: Niamh Murray