Piano Magic album have declared that this will be their final album. The suitably-titled Closure, released for the band’s twentieth anniversary, is a subtle and carefully considered set of what the band call ‘ghost rock’. It is sad in places, as one might imagine, but it is great to hear a band able to consciously make a final statement. Closure is released on CD and vinyl by Second Language.
CD £8.49 SL036
CD on Second Language.
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LP £14.49 SL036LP
LP on Second Language.
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The neatly box tied closing of twenty years of Piano Magic is almost the total opposite of their sprawling career which has seen the band go through several line ups, a multitude of musical styles whilst flying through several different record labels. 'Closure' though is a dramatic closing statement both grandiose and intimate, both heart-wrenching and overbearing. I may be wrong but I suspect that Glen Johnson and his cohorts have been listening to the Apartments 'No Song No Spell No Madrigal' album as not only does this album feature Apartments main man Peter Walsh but it shares the same late night poetic mood as that wonderful album.
The opening title track is the album's centrepiece - a ten minute epic with half sung, half spoken vocals which sounds like some kind of delicate cross breed of the Go Betweens and Bark Psychosis. The song is almost too much to bear at times, a stunningly spacious work, words being drip fed to the listener, the subject both showcasing the end of a relationship or the end of a part of life. Piano Magic here take risks but they pay off...fans of their more cinematic sort of post rock may find songs like 'Exile' too straight down the line, too sincere but Piano Magic straddle the right side of mopey singer songwriting with murky, mysterious atmospheres and a keen eye for an affecting lyrics. The album can seem straightforward on first listen but this is a dense work which both challenges and soothes the listener. Much of it sounds like what would have happened had the Go Betweens signed to 4AD. Songs like 'Living for Other People' have similar dark hues to 'The Clarke Sisters' and 'The House That Jack Kerouac' from that bands 'Tallulah' album the autumnal strings and spoken word vocals creating dark swirling moods. 'You Never Stopped Loving' too sounds like it could be a lost missive from one of Grant McLennan's solo albums. It's wonderful. Nick Cave also springs to mind, though I've never found his music to evoke quite the atmospheres that are developed here but there's a similarity in this dark poetic music.
Late, late in the day it seems Piano Magic have hit their high water mark. They have made a thoughtful and though provoking work that just demands to be ingested late at night on a cold evening to the flicker of candle-light. What a way to go out.
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