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Good but not great!
on 22 November 2016
I have bought most releases from Magnum over the years but although I like the band I am not someone who eulogises over each new release hailing it as the greatest thing since sliced bread, I feel I am more objective. With this in mind, with this review comes a little criticism that has nagged at me for a while. Escape from the Shadow Garden is a good album, of that I have no doubt and yet again Tony Clarkin has written some excellent songs (he usually does!) For me though Tony Clarkin (along with Bob) is Magnum's strength but also, in some ways its weakness: let me explain.
I know many will criticise my last comment and I firmly believe Clarkin to be both an excellent composer and lyricist but, he doesn't appear to be an excellent lead guitarist. Many will say that doesn't matter, but for me anyway, many Magnum songs call for an injection of some gentle fire to truly elevate them from good to great or, as in some cases, from the one paced, one dimensional to very good. Many Magnum songs call for a decent guitar solo or lead fill to make their sound even more expansive and I believe someone like a Vinny Burns in their ranks would have done wonders for Magnum and broadened their appeal even further.
As stated I have bought most of Magnum's output over the years and have seen them live a couple of times so I feel reasonably qualified to be objective when reviewing this.