Piano Magic - Part Monster - CD
7th "proper" album from (excluding compilations) esoteric Anglo-French, London-based "ghost-rock" group that ranges from brittle folkish introspection to dynamic all-out noise intensity. Produced by Guy Fixsen of Laika (engineer to the likes of My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, The Breeders, Stereolab).
Part-Monster by Piano Magic easily lives up to it's title. Though Piano Magic are generally tarred with the brushes of "ambient," "coldwave" or even "ghostrock," Part-Monster has its fill of all-out, near brutal, dynamic intensity. Indeed, anyone who's witnessed PM live over the past 2 years or so will testify that the shadowy introspection of their records is camouflage for a beast of many teeth. Bringing in Guy Fixsen, of the group, Laika, as producer, clearly marked the band's intention for a rawer, more powerful sound. Fixsen has taken the production and/or engineer chair for such luminaries as The Pixies, Moonshake, The Breeders, Joy Zipper, Stereolab, Lush and most notably for My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.
That's not to say that Piano Magic have entirely turned the amps up to 11. Part-Monster gracefully manages to balance this cathartic noise with romantic paeans to their favorite subject - the more cruel, tragic side of their home city, London and most notably tips a hat to perhaps the most graceful of it's outcasts, Joseph Carey Merrick (The Elephant Man).
In this, the 10th year of their existence, Piano Magic can look back on a varied and accomplished discography most bands wouldn't manage in a lifetime of trying. Records for 4AD, Darla, Morr Music, Important and many more, mark their way, as well as the soundtrack to Bigas Luna's Son De Mar movie (2001) and performances at some of the biggest festivals in Europe (Benicassim, Primavera, BAM).
Though based in London, Piano Magic is a living model of the Entente Cordiale - 3 of its 5 members are French (6, if you include regular chanteuse, Angele). Even so, since its conception, in 1996, the group has drunk heavily from the glass of British musical inspiration - most notably, The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, as well as the selective 80s output of 4AD, Factory and Rough Trade Records. Though they operate somewhat beneath the radar in a fashion-obsessed Britain, Piano Magic have amassed a huge, devout following in Europe and regularly tour the likes of France, Spain, Italy to sold-out halls.
Though the group is their main obsession, singer Glen Johnson also maintains a solo project of leftfield electronica under the guise of Textile Ranch (album, Bird Heart In Wool, Very Friendly, 2005). Along with keyboard player, Cedric Pin, his Future Conditional project will release their debut album, We Don't Just Disappear on LTM Recordings this April - a label most notable for the re-issue of many Factory Records' "classic" albums.
1. The Last Engineer
2. England's Always Better (As You're Pulling Away)
3. Incurable (Reprise)
4. Soldier Song
5. The King Cannot Be Found
6. Great Escapes
7. Cities & Factories
8. Halfway Through
9. Saints Preserve Us