Magic Castles are a Minneapolis group well-versed in the ways of blissfully floating psychedelically-inclined folk-rock. Gentle harmonies float above winding streams of twanging guitar and organ clouds. Starflower, their third album, is released by ‘a’ Recordings as a CD or as a lilac-coloured vinyl LP.
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The Magic Castles sound like a cloud whispering to their favourite cloud, and that just happens to continue on ‘Starflower’, because clouds happen to float on, okay? I think Modest Mouse told me that once. This record is addictive in the same way sitting on a bean bag is; you don’t want to get up from it. ‘Starflower’ offers dulcet pop songs and synth instrumentals beamed down from the sky, and I wager it’s the closest a lot of us will get to experiencing a rapture.
Plenty of your favourite chiller tricks are at hand on this record: there’s that thing where the bassnotes feel like they’ve been flicked between, as if someone’s pressing a switch rather than moving down the frets (as on the gorgeous “Hollow Moon”; there’s a psychedelic waltz of reverberating tricks that sound like they’ve been crammed into a Phil Collins slow jam (maybe you didn’t ask for this, but it’s contained in the rather lovely “Lost In Space”; there are even some bona fide psych tunes, like the distantly locked grooves of “See Her Eyes In The Sky”. As far as psych rock albums go, I’m told psych tunes are currency.
Not only is ‘Starflower’ a great, stoned out genre pastiche, it sounds utterly lovely: there are bands who seem to channel their best qualities through the atmosphere, who make production sound like their blood vessels, and the Magic Castles are one of those bands. Like Kevin Shields engineering songs rather than writing them, this band have created a floaty wonderland and then sung into it.
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- Starflower by The Magic Castles
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