THE MAGIC GANG

Not even se­ri­ous on­stage in­jury can knock the wind out of chirpy in­die-pop mob’s sails.

Q (UK) - - In Coming - PAUL MOODY

For Fans Of: Teenage Fan­club, Mac DeMarco, The House­martins Get This Track: Your Love

Any­one watch­ing Brighton four-piece The Magic Gang per­form last sum­mer couldn’t have failed to no­tice front­man Jack Kaye mer­rily bob­bing around on­stage, de­spite his right leg be­ing en­tirely en­cased in an enor­mous plas­tic leg brace. “I was piss­ing about on the bar­rier and I some­how dis­lo­cated my knee and fell on the floor,” says Kaye, re­call­ing his on­stage mishap at last year’s Barn On The Farm fes­ti­val. “They put me in a leg brace for six weeks, but we still car­ried on. I played Lat­i­tude wear­ing it.” Such is the never-say-die spirit of The Magic Gang (Kaye, co-singer-guitarist Kris Smith, bassist Gus Taylor and drum­mer Paeris Giles). Formed in 2013 when they all grav­i­tated to Brighton from their na­tive Hamp­shire, their re­lent­less gig­ging has won over their own le­gion of fans, thanks as much “We’d rather sound like The Kinks than Pave­ment”: The Magic Gang (from left, Kris Smith, Gus Taylor, Paeris Giles, Jack Kaye). to their up­beat spirit as their soar­ing gui­tar pop. “We never set out to be a happy band,” points out the be­spec­ta­cled Kaye as they tuck into lunchtime pints of Guin­ness in a North Lon­don pub. “But we smile a lot on­stage and peo­ple picked up on it.” “Our whole schtick is that we’re these four fuck­ing id­iots,” adds Taylor, as they all crack up laugh­ing. Such chem­istry doesn’t come overnight. Un­til re­cently, the band lived in an eightbed­room shared house in cen­tral Brighton. Part of a free­wheel­ing col­lec­tive of groups (they sing the praises of former house­mates Abat­toir Blues and Sulky Boy), they bonded over a shared love of The Bea­tles and The Beach Boys. “We all started off in dif­fer­ent bands,” ex­plains Smith. “Then we thought, ‘Oh shit, we’ve got four cre­ative pow­er­houses here.’” Writ­ten and recorded at home (“We had very rea­son­able neigh­bours,” dead­pans Taylor), a string of vinyl and dig­i­tal re­leases quickly saw them signed up and ap­pear­ing on day­time Ra­dio 1 playlists. The only down­side to their care­free ex­is­tence to date, it seems, has been the non­stop de­scrip­tions of the group as “slack­ers”. “We only recorded at home be­cause we didn’t want to hang around for some­one to pay for us to do it prop­erly,” ex­plains a mo­men­tar­ily se­ri­ous Kaye. “We’d rather sound like The Kinks than Pave­ment.” Their self-ti­tled de­but al­bum seems set to end such con­fu­sion. Recorded with pro­ducer James Dring (Jamie T/ Go­ril­laz), it’s as tightly wound as the Arc­tic Mon­keys’ de­but, ex­cept with the urban grit re­placed with a South Coast ro­man­ti­cism. So while the bit­ter­sweet in­die of Your Love tugs at the heart­strings like peak-pe­riod Blur, Take Care is a multi-lay­ered pi­ano bal­lad wor­thy of Todd Rund­gren. “We don’t take our­selves se­ri­ously, but we’re deadly se­ri­ous about the mu­sic,” ac­knowl­edges Smith. “It was fun liv­ing to­gether, but it feels like we’ve en­tered a more pro­fes­sional zone,” adds Kaye, as a sec­ond round of drinks ar­rive. More pro­fes­sional per­haps, but never dour. Brace your­self for The Magic Gang.

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