The Magic Magicians

The Magic Magicians

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The Magic Magicians' eponymous second album may have the same eclectic vibe as their debut, but this time John Atkins of 764-HERO and Joe Ben Plummer of the Black Heart Procession head in such a strange, experimental directions with their pop, that it pays off. Like fellow-West Coasters Ugly Casanova, the Magic Magicians skewer their pop with abandon, from the horn cacophony on "West Coast Harbor" to the dark and spiraling riffs and Strummer-esque vocals of "The Cab and I." It's really quite confounding, and sounds as unique as the Black Heart Procession and 764-HERO without sounding much like those bands at all. Sure, it's less-polished than either of those acts, but that is part of the Magic Magicians' charm -- they've got a rough, nervy, lo-fi take on power rock that has the weird immediacy of the Microphones' Mount Eerie. Unfortunately, some listeners may take this as inaccessibility, but when the Magic Magicians hit their mark -- the thundering, Afghan Whigs-sounding "Wet Pills, Pt. 1" and the dubby "Action" -- they create a disorienting swell that would fit well with avant-popsters like GoGoGo Airheart, No Knife, and Pleasure Forever.

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