Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Art of Telling the Truth

Magnet School
The Art of Telling the Truth
(Shifting Sounds)

It was way back in 2013 that I was introduced to the smashing two song single “Fur & Velvet” from Austin, TX four-piece Magnet School (#26 from 2013’s best of here).  Thankfully, the band continued their diligent work and did not disappear on us, because The Art of Telling the Truth is an outstanding collection!  In my review of “Fur & Velvet” and the menacing crawl of the dangerous sounding instrumental “swandive,” (both included on the LP) I referenced the heavy twin guitar attack of the Swervedriver, which I still stand by, however, the production and the soft blending of the exploratory guitars of Michael J. Wane and Mark Ford remind of Ferment-era Catherine Wheel, which is about as high of praise as I can offer.  Yet it’s the cranking rhythm section of Brandon Tucker and Erik Conn that ground the intertwining guitar melodies and layers of controlled feedback.

This is not necessarily what one would normally expect from a Texas band, but these days with the great shoegaze focus of Fort Worth record label Saint Marie, and bands like Austin’s all over the map Ringo Deathstarr, to the promising postpunk of the debut EP from Dallas’ The Hourly Radio (going back like ten plus years ago), I guess one never should pre-judge.

I love that there are three instrumentals among these ten songs, because Magnet School’s strengths lie in their ability to paint a vivid and exciting picture with their music alone, yet songs like “Fur & Velvet,” the opening “We Were Golden” and the rainy melancholy of “British Monuments” are all sing-along catchy.  Meanwhile, the soaring “Irresistible Lie” and “So Long to the Heavens” (both of which bring to mind Camden’s debut Reel Time Canvas from the turn of the century) find the vocals down in the mix, not rising above the fantastic arrangements.  The penultimate song, “Red Giant,” is a down tempo number that has explosive turns, all while seemingly overstating the importance of a fierce breakdancing throw-down (not really sure what’s going on, but it’s still one of my favorites here).

If you enjoy dreamy guitar rock – with an emphasis on the “rock,” then this album should be most pleasing to your ears.  It is available in three different colors of vinyl as well, so pick up a copy while supplies last and be sure to play it loud!

Magnet School "British Monuments"

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