Magic Man, the Boston-based indie pop band, has recently released their second album, Before the Waves. The band, now consisting of Alex Caplow, Sam Lee, Justine Bowe, Gabe Goodman, and Joey Sulkowski, has come a long way since first forming as the synthetic duo of Caplow and Lee. Before the Waves is an excellent testament to the power of a full band, and the success that can come with being proactive about growth and change in order to make it in the industry.
The album is unique in regards to the norms of today’s music scene. Its sounds are more of a fun and friendly reminder of the past—specifically the dance music of the ‘80s.
The album opens with, “Texas,” a softer track that is not the strongest for an album’s hook. The lyrics lend it to a summer track, and the chorus picks up just enough to have you moving along to the beat, however.
“Apollo” starts out much stronger than “Texas,” and is immediately reminiscent of a rave or dance party. It also falls right in line with throwbacks like King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” (lyrically and musically), and Dexys Midnight Runners’ “Come on Eileen.”
“Paris” is Magic Man’s single off of Before the Waves, and has done extremely well in various song charts. “Paris” is a bit more indie in its feel and flow, with a hint of The Neighbourhood, though in a more upbeat way. Caplow’s vocals paired with the keyboards are especially striking. It is definitely a feel-good song, as well.
“Catherine” is another fun song, seeming to be an ideal song for a road trip. “Chicagoland” is no real standout. The music is a little flat, and falling in the middle of the lineup of the album probably does not help.
“Honey” is a calming break that testifies to the variety that Magic Man can accomplish. It is a little less pop, doing a good job displaying that the band has range and flexibility in their sound.
From the opening notes of “Tonight” and “Out of Mind,” you cannot help but feel these songs belong in a John Hughes film. They have the energy and sentimentality of that era, and the lyrics align with the same themes such as living in the now and living for love.
“Every Day” is a Michael Jackson, “Thriller”-type recreation. It has a great beat and use of musical sounds. The lyrics are light and sweet, adding to the song’s catchiness.
“Waves” is also a retro song that I can only describe as a beach song. The lyrics about a summer love affair just seem to embody California. The song is a musical story, where you can feel the adventure and heartbreak of the love described, as well as picture the setting with an intense vividness. In this simple way, “Waves” takes you on a journey. It becomes more than just a song; it becomes a life. It is one of those songs that you don’t expect to have such an effect on you, but just hits you in a way you won’t forget.
“Too Much” is a good follow up to “Waves.” The two seem to flow together, and “Too Much” helps you unwind and detangle all the emotions from the previous track.
“It All Starts Here” closes the album with a building excitement. It takes a little while to get there, but eventually reaches a climax that nicely summarizes the album. It is the culmination of this summer album, which Before the Waves can easily be described as.