Just about everything I've read about this London group name checks the Mamas & the Papas. Personally, I don't hear it. They rock a lot harder than those Hall of Famers and no one in the Magic Numbers sings as well as Mama Cass or Denny Doherty, either. Maybe it's just 'cause they've got at least two guys and two gals in the band, including a chubby chick and one named Michelle. Lead singer Romeo Stodart's thin voice can be annoying when things get wimpy and precious in the lyrical department, and yet whenever everybody loosens up enough, they're an exciting band, full of eclectic surprises. On top of that, the string charts for this record are the saddest and purtiest I've heard since Zombies vocalist Colin Blunstone's One Year album. What mars one such particularly sad number concerning goodbyes (there's a lot of those) is that I almost think I hear one of the female singers affecting a fake catch in her voice. You can fake an orgasm and no one will mind much. But faking a cry in your voice won't get you my coin in your tin cup. If these guys got super witty all of a sudden, they'd certainly cause Belle & Sebastian or Gomez some sleepless nights. As it is, though, they're just a much edgier Friend and Lover.
Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].