The Sound of Arrows

M.A.G.I.C.

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

If the Sound of Arrows' debut single "Danger!" described the world as a dark and scary place (not that it necessarily sounded that way), this follow-up presents entirely the opposite outlook -- instead of the exhortations of a neurotic parent, it's an unbridled expression of lightness and childlike wonder: "The W.O.R.L.D. is full of M.A.G.I.C." That utterly exuberant chorus (with definite shades of Justice's "D.A.N.C.E.") is even chanted by a bunch of kids -- conveniently or confusingly, "W" is pronounced in Swedish like "V," which may make them seem like a bunch of kid vampires. Rarely has a song's message been so perfectly suited to its sound; a giddy, gushy confection of synths, strings, twinkles, and beats that launches this Swedish duo right into the forefront of prime 2000s regressionist-pop, alongside the Go! Team and Architecture in Helsinki. A trio of glitchified electronic reworkings -- Let's Get Invisible's jumpy, '80s-happy take (subtitled "Reading Is Fundamental"), a spastic synth pop slice-up by Spain's Cof Cof, and a muted breakbeat infusion from Alaska's Curtis Vodka -- do interesting but inessential things, diluting the song's primal innocence somewhat without entirely obscuring its joyful essence, nor making it necessarily any better or worse for the dancefloor, whereas Japan's Ice Cream Shout manage to re-envision the song entirely (this time with harp, glockenspiel, a plodding tuba, and a battery of marching-band percussion) for a fittingly tender and warmhearted new reading. The mellow, meandering "Smalltown Lullaby," a somewhat Christmas-y quasi-instrumental which comes complete with storybook narration, closes out this entirely delightful EP.

blue highlight denotes track pick