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The Return To Form Black Magick Party

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Album Review

Mika's Life in Cartoon Motion garnered much more attention, but Pop Levi's Return to Form Black Magick Party may well be 2007's most authentically cracked homage to '70s glam rock and boogie. With his full-length solo debut, Levi — who splits most of his time between playing bass for Ladytron and being one-third of the unclassifiable Liverpudlian experimental rock trio Super Numeri — has created an album-length homage to T. Rex that has the unfortunate side effect of being slightly too true to the original. With a couple of arguable exceptions (most notably The Slider and Electric Warrior), Marc Bolan was basically incapable of writing a consistently solid album's worth of material at a time, with the result that T. Rex albums varied wildly in quality from shiny and knife-sharp pop songcraft to deadly dull, repetitive blooze jams. Similarly, Return to Form Black Magick Party veers from brash, gimmicky gems like the singles "Pick-Me-Up Uppercut" (which makes an unexpected bend into a Raspberries-like power pop bridge from the stomping Sweet-style refrain) and "Blue Honey" to tiresome "heavy" rock workouts like "Mournin' Light" and "(A Style Called) Crying Chic." Some of the stylistic experiments work, such as the acoustic blues "Skip Ghetto," which sounds like Pink Floyd's David Gilmour sitting in on an outtake from John Lennon's Mind Games, or the trippy tape-loop psychedelia and demented chanting of "See My Lord." But overall, Pop Levi is at his best when he's at his most Bolan-like, as on "Sugar Assault Me Now" and "Dollar Bill Rock."

Customer Reviews

First time. Not the last.

I happened upon PL by way of Ebay. Was looking through Danielle Dax stuff when I ran across Pop Levi. Some seller on there compared him to Marc Bolan and Danielle Dax. I can see that. But he is much more than that.

Very poppy, out there record. But earthy at the same time. I'd never heard him before but immediately downloaded this album when I heard Sugar Assault Me Now. And I loved it. Hades Woman reminded me of Led Zeppelin and that's a good thing in my book.


Born: Liverpool, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A British musician who played with Super Numeri and Ladytron before launching a respected solo career, Pop Levi is the progenitor of a unique breed of music that swerves from pop to glam rock to freak folk. Levi was born in London to a Jewish doctor and a gentile nurse, who encouraged their son to begin studying piano at age three. He joined a gospel choir at seven, started collecting records at nine, and wrote his first first song, "Through the Window of My Life," by the time he was 12. As a young...
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The Return To Form Black Magick Party, Pop Levi
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