Tuesday 17 July 2012

Magoo - The Continuing Adventures Of...

Album review by KevW

In their twenty year career, Norfolk indie-rock journeymen Magoo have endured line-up changes, scenes coming and going and many of their contemporaries falling by the wayside. It's been a few years since we last heard from them, but 'The Continuing Adventures Of...' is an album that finds the band in rude health. Magoo have always existed on the fringes of the alternative music scene; sharing 7" singles with Mogwai, released many records on The Delgados' Chemikal Underground imprint and recording a few Peel sessions. Yet they never quite reached the levels of success attained by others around them. And maybe that's just how things are meant to be. Given the current climate this record isn't going to be their breakthrough, something that might not be a great result for their bank accounts, but for fans of guitars and good tunes this is stellar stuff.

The formidable vocals of Andrew Rayner still pack the same punch, and here the music follows suit for the entire journey. Take, for example, 'East Polar Opposite Can Dream' (a single now over a decade old) and you'll hear a quaking force, but a slow burning one. It's a song that steadily grows into a speaker-busting behemoth. There are no build-ups on this album. From the get-go each of these tracks has its foot on the gas, and although it's debatable whether any of them quite reach those previous dizzy heights, they're certainly not far off. If it's consistency you're after then you'll find it here. A quick run though of the songs on this record that have single potential reveals that... they all do. Which is a mightily impressive feat of powerpop prowess. When the pace is allowed to drop it's only fleetingly on the intro to 'Dear Johnny' where you're given precisely fifty seconds before skyscraping guitars send the whole thing skyward once again.

There are riffs aplenty on 'Little Lanes', 'Bubblegum' and 'Force 10 From Navarone', and the rest of the album is like a potted history of great powerpop/punk/indie bands, taking us on a tour of The Ramones ('Volcanoes'), Supergrass ('Penelope') and a cross-pollination of Big Star and Geneva (the rest of the album). Magoo are masters of this and 'The Continuing Adventures Of...' barely puts a foot wrong. They may not be heading for Wembley stadium but their place in the hearts of indie Britain is even cemented further. With an album consisting of eleven potential singles we can only hope that they continue with their adventures for as long as they can. Veterans they may be, but Magoo's fire is still burning bright and rather than slowing down they seem hell-bent on plotting a course to powerpop immortality.

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