This self-titled sophomore album sounds more like a confused debut.

Magic Bullets

Magic Bullets

Released on Jun 15, 2010


While an evening soundtracked by music from Magic Bullets is preferable to an evening spent with a man who subscribes to the Magic Bullets: Meet, Attract & Date the Women You Want “proven system of success” (Google it if you don’t believe me), that’s not too generous a compliment. There are a few decent tracks on the album, but by and large, it sounds like a tentative debut that’s far more comfortable copping musical styles than experimenting with their own—which isn’t the sound a sophomore album should connote.

Perhaps I should cut Magic Bullets a little bit of slack. They did lose a few members of their lineup to the “it band” (of a few months ago), Girls. And I just praised The Gaslight Anthem’s new album, which definitely relies on the musical stylings of their personal heroes. But what Magic Bullets is missing is an element of passion and the direction that comes from that emotion.     

Alright, I’m pussyfooting around another HUGE problem I have with this album. The lead singer is basically a watered-down version of Morrissey. I tried listening to these tracks several times to come up with anything else, but nothing comes to me besides: “Eww. Morrissey 2.0. And I bet he’d take that as a compliment.” Unfortunately, if there’s any canonical male singer that I hate, it’s Morrissey. I’m sure hardcore (or even softcore) Morrissey fans will disagree with me, but there’s enough of an acoustic resemblance there for me to leave a bad feeling in my ears.

If the faux-Morrissey lead singer was the absolute core of the album, I’d stop right here, give the album a 2, and move on. But I just can’t dismiss the cheery little guitarist as quickly. However patronizing that description may be, the moments that offer a shot at redemption for this album come from the instrumental side of the band. The intro to “Red Room”? Great…until the singer comes in. And the guitar melody with the piano in “Young Shoulders”? Sounds great. “Lying Around” is the best track on the album simply because of the upbeat, clean guitar parts.

That’s not to say that the music couldn’t stand a little more growth and coherency. The singer and the band don’t seem to mesh together that well. It seems like the band is constantly pulling the singer along, and vice versa. Also, as far as their non-Smiths influences are concerned, they may want to shuffle them around a little bit. The guitar part of “Lying Around” sounds pretty similar to “Millions of People Running Around.” I’m not about to cry plagiarism (if one can even plagiarize themselves…), but it’s obvious that Magic Bullets should give themselves a little bit more time to explore their sound within their new, “post-exodus to Girls” lineup.

High Point

The piano part on “Young Shoulders” is unexpected and charming, and serves as an excellent addition to the track.

Low Point

To reiterate, the lead singer sounds too much like Morrissey for a Morrissey-hater like me to fully engage with the tracks.

Posted by Alyssa Vincent on Jun 22, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

magic bullets, review