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Magic Dance - New Eyes Award winner

Magic Dance
New Eyes
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 December 2018, 6:14 AM

MAGIC DANCE was born in 2012 on Long Island, NY as a solo project for singer/songwriter Jon Siejka. A self-taught musician and producer, his debut EP, "Another World" was released in May 2013. "The Mirror of Dreams" and "Kiss Scene" EPs followed, all heavily influenced by the iconic synth-pop and film soundtrack music of the ‘80’s. 2015 release the "Haunting Me" EP marked an evolution in his sound, featuring guitar-heavy cuts like "Still Haunting Me" and "I Wanna Know". His debut full length album, "Vanishings" is an even larger statement of that evolution, combining '80’s influenced AOR, pop rock, and synth-pop to create a sound uniquely his own.

In late 2017, Jon was signed by Frontiers. For this new album, Jon collaborated with Jack Simchak and Tim Mackey on guitars, Mike Peniston and Kevin Krug on bass, and Kevin McAdams on drums. While the sound is now heavier and more guitar oriented, the sound leans way more towards classic AOR, with strong hints of the sounds of the mid 80’s. Today, we have the newest album titled “New Eyes,” which contains ten tracks.

“You’re Holding Back” lead off the album, with sparkling keys and an energetic riff, straight out of the 1980’s. It sounds fresh and contemporary however, with graceful guitars and the wonderful voice of Jon Siejka. “Never go Back” has a positive quality to the “whoas” in the opening and a perfect balance between tough sounding guitars and keyboards. The catchy chorus is very memorable…sounding like a combination of Richard Marx and LOVERBOY. “These Four Walls” has a more melancholy sound, smooth and mellow in its delivery, until the chorus hits and then it’s game on. The harmonies are perfect. This is some exceptional songwriting with an ear for structure, melody and timing. It takes me back.

“Please Wake Me” is a slower and more tender song with charming melodies and a big, memorable chorus. It has sad and longing tones, like you are witnessing the last leaves falling as winter approaches. “Cut Beneath the Skin” has a JOURNEY like opening with the keys. The vocals are a bit lower here but no less emotional. He sings so smoothly that it envelops you in his warm tones. The guitar solo following the second chorus is like taking a ride on the open road with no where to go. “When Nothing’s Real” opens with a heavy keyboard presence and another strong vocal performance. The guitars maintain just enough presence to give it an edgy sound. “Better Things” has a very jovial and positive sound with harmonized vocals that come at you in layers. The structure keeps you on your toes as you bounce your head over and over and close your eyes, with a big smile on your lips.

“For a Time (The End of my World)” is a tender little number, sung with emotions. The guitars sparkle in the background in clean tones, steadily gaining in speed and range. It’s like your world comes crashing down around you but you really don’t care, and just revel in the moment. “Looking for Love” is a slower song with subtle melodies and big guitar tones. The verses are tender and introspective while the chorus has layers of harmonized vocals. “New Eyes” closes the album, with poignant piano notes and just the beautiful voice of Jon Seijka. He sings with passion and conviction, and if this doesn’t get under your skin, nothing will. When the guitars and vocal harmonies come in, they fill all of the empty spaces inside you. What a great closing song to an outstanding album.

Frontiers Music has a real winner here. Sure, it’s retro, but it has a contemporary edge to it. Though it’s nothing overly new or original, but it is performed with absolute genuine emotion and conviction. The verses flow into the chorus so easily that it’s hard not to be swept up and carried away. The melodies hit you at the right time and really stick with you throughout the entire album. Warning: you will be singing along vehemently! Bravo, guys!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. You’re Holding Back
2. Never go Back
3. These Four Walls
4. Please Wake Me
5. Cut Beneath the Skin
6. When Nothing’s Real
7. Better Things
8. For a Time (The End of my World)
9. Looking for Love
10. New Eyes
Jon Siejka – Singer/Songwriter/Producer
Record Label: Frontiers Music


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