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Magic Dance – Remnants Award winner

Magic Dance
by Rachel Montgomery at 27 January 2021, 9:26 PM

Do you love 80s music? I’m not just talking about metal. I’m talking about pop music full of heavy synth and big sounds. If you have a hankering for the 1980s in your playlist, then MAGIC DANCE is the band for you. While it’s unclear if the band’s name is a reference to a David Bowie song in the fantasy cult classic Labyrinth or if their sound was influenced by TANGERINE DREAM’s soundtrack in another 80s fantasy flick, Legend, there’s no mistaking Magic Dance’s sound for any other decade. Including nods to “Forever Young” by ALPHAVILLE and other new wave staples, this New York-based act describes their music as “80s commercial rock with a soul.” Their latest album Remnants is Magic Dance’s seventh release, after one EP and six full-length albums, including instrumental and special edition releases.

Technically, everything’s here. Production values are superb, both mimicking and cleaning up trends from 80s pop. And while Magic Dance makes its way to heavy synth in the album later, it treats us to a hard rock sound on the opening track. “Oh No” is more of a traditional hard rock song without the 80s bells and whistles. Its high-pitched guitars are somewhat reminiscent of the era, but overall, the opener has more of a neutral, classic sound than just sticking to 80s. The opener also showcases the guitars’ technicality, giving way to some well-constructed riffs and sweeps in the solo.

As the album progresses, the synth elements come charging in. Starting with “Zombie Breath”, the songs evolve from traditional rock into more 80s-inspired fare with heavier synthesizers. The most noticeable shift is between the songs “When Your World Comes Down” and “Change Your Life”. The former sounds more like a traditional power metal ballad (and has a kickass guitar solo) and the latter is pure synth energy. If it weren’t for the very clean production, the airy synth and high snares would have me guessing this was a long-lost New Wave hit from the 80s.

Finally, the album leaves us on an anthem with big, magical synths and a subtle fade near the end before the album leaves us with a whoosh. The ending left me feeling pumped, truly invoking the 80s vibe. Overall, whether you love this album will depend on your opinion of 80s music. If you yearn for the days of big hair and bigger music, then this is the traditional comeback you don’t want to miss! On the other hand, if this wasn’t your favorite decade, or you really hate the sound, steer clear. From an objective standpoint, the production is solid and it’s musically there. Eighties fans, dig in!

Songwriting: 8
Production: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Oh No
2. Long and Lost Lonely Nights
3. Zombie Breath Surprise
4. Cut Me Deep
5. When Your World Comes Down
6. Change Your Life
7. I'm Still Holding On
8. Changes
9. Restless Nights
10. Til Your Last Breath
11. I Can't Be the Only One
Jonathan Siejka – Guitar, vocals, synth, bass, drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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