From The Magic Treehouse to The Magic Theatre,
This review is from: The Long Way Home (MP3 Download)
It's been 15 years from Ooberman's debut album The Magic Treehouse to the lush, mature, work of The Magic Theatre's latest album. And far from the barnstorming world of stormtroopers, blossoms falling and collapsing igloos is where you'll find Dan & Sophia's latest work, which contemplates life on a grander scale. Following the disappointing debut London Town, the two ex-Ooberman vocalists have seemingly gone back to the drawing board and perfected a fine line in delicate pop music that doesn't need guitars or drums as a primary focus. Here, the instrumentation and arrangements are far more baroque - string quartets, celestes, melodic bass guitar work and the occasional larger ensembles where required.
Restraint is the key and any bombast is musically justified, all topped off with Sophia's distinctive familiar vocals, occasionally multi-tracked for heavenly effect. Thematically it's an exploration of love and hate, from the most minute detail and fleeting moments (example song It Was Glorious is a highlight) to something more (literally universal) with the soaring Cathedrals Of The Mind, a list of mankind's greatest achievments, and a few alarming mis-steps along the way. The cover of Love Is Blue is also a pleasant addition and will warm the cockles of the indiepop fan who enjoys Claudine Longet.
Okay, it's not perfect; the instrumentation (particularly the drums) occasionally sounds a little too clinical, and I would prefer a couple of songs sung by Dan along the way, but it made my list of the best albums of 2013. As a sampler, try the opening track, The Sampler, and see how it grabs you. If you enjoy it, you'll find a lot to love here.