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A Child But In Life Yet a Doctor In Love

Magic Bullets

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Album Review

Oh good — a debut album with a long and pretentiously nonsensical title. We haven't seen nearly enough of those lately. And also a singer with a dramatic, Morrissey-esque vibrato! Just what we needed. To be fair, though, the title is something of a red herring: these guys aren't nearly as precious as you might be led to expect, and if they do lean a bit towards the willfully quirky, what stands out most about their sound is the multi-layered loveliness of the guitar lines and the relentlessly propulsive bump of the rhythm section. Singer Philip Benson seems to understand that the words are less important than the music, so even when he gets a bit too self-involved ("Self-esteem can be such a tricky thing," etc.) he manages to keep the focus where it belongs. Influences? You bet: the Smiths ("Yesterday's Seen Better Days"), Gang of Four ("Will Scarlet"), and Talking Heads ("Circumstances"), just to name three. "Heatstroke" sounds, strangely enough, like a cross between the Feelies and Joy Division. So maybe they're a little bit precious. But there are worse things than that, and besides, a band that can pull off sounding simultaneously like the Feelies and Joy Division is one that bears watching. Recommended.

Biography

Formed: 2004 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in 2004, six-piece San Francisco band Magic Bullets draw from a shared love of post-punk/1980s alt-rock bands such as Orange Juice, the Sound, the Feelies, and Talking Heads. Prior to joining Magic Bullets, the bandmembers had spent most of their previous time playing in various punk bands. Vocalist Philip Benson and guitarist/primary songwriter Corey Cunningham first met in 2000 and were members of the Cosmos. A few years later, the two recruited Colin Dobrin (drums), Matthew Kallman (keyboard),...
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A Child But In Life Yet a Doctor In Love, Magic Bullets
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