Magic Bronson – ‘Wildlife’

Californian indi-alt-electronic duo hit all the right notes in a sensationally confident debut.

Once in a while, an earnest publicity machine will send their hyperbole into the wild winds of the internet, and as if through a kind of osmosis, the pre-cast superlatives will pay off. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s worth it. Magic Bronson, an alternative/ electronic duo (Michael Nicastro, Matthew Lieberman) from Los Angeles are a giddy good find – an act of refined, accomplished electronic noise that’s as musically engrossing as it is propulsive and rhythmic. Their album Wildlife is an outstanding find. It’s revelatory.

The influences within the piece can be heard fairly clearly; perhaps not influences per se but associated genre-mates, sipping from the same well: there’s doses of MGMT in here, as well as a hint of Broken Bells (and anyone who wants to keep up with Joneses like Danger Mouse and James Mercer is all right in my book). Descriptors for their particular brand of noise pour out like abstract, ambient, dance, trance…

‘Clouds’ reminds immediately of Bloc Party (again, a very good thing), and if the record has a mainstream entry, that’d be it. ‘Fences’ is purposeful and fleshed out, wavering between its cutesy verse poetry, (its four-bar intro is playfully reminiscent of a Yamaha home organ) blending seamlessly into its energetic choruses. The song seems tailor-fit for an indi outfit like this; getting it done in a competitive world, bringing the lessons learnt from earnest parents telling them, “Good enough just doesn’t make it/ kid you gotta take it into your own hands/ Oh my God, it’s making sense/ We’re all this time hanging ’round/ Sitting on the fences.” There’s a tonal shift in ‘Golden’, which then curves into a new reggae-like twist with ‘Let Us Grow’. The single ‘All Night Dog Fight’ takes is sonic cues from Kanye West’s ‘Black Skinhead’, except without the misplaced arrogance and lyrical boners (‘300 like Romans,’ huh, Kanye?), and demands repeat listening. Album closer ‘Play Your Part’ shows a couple of talented kids looking to the horizon and aiming for the stars.

One of the real achievements of the piece is, oddly enough, track selection. The album is a hybrid of influences and genre mixes, yet it doesn’t get bogged down in specific style of tone. It shifts from various energetic points and tones, but each track flows and is stitched together nicely when it could have been harsh and jarring. I’m old school: the proper flow of track selection is important to me.

While it’s hard to ascertain whether Magic Bronson have been given any press in this corner of the world (there’s lots of press to be had, and I can’t seem to nail any down), it was a first for me, and I have to say it’s a thrill to be singing their praises. I’m genuinely excited by this act. There’s infinite promise here, and within the realm of dance and electronica records, Wildlife is a high watermark.

Ladies and gentlemen: Magic Bronson. They’re great. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

 

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