[sic] Magazine

Magic Shoppe – Mono Lake

Forgive us for name-dropping, but if you’re the kind of head that digs the noise-punk intensity of No Age, the pedal abuse of A Place To Bury Strangers, the wind-tunnel wooze of My Bloody Valentine, the furious feedback and muddy melodies of the Jesus & Mary Chain, the epic scale of Have A Nice Life, and the catchy mid-fi mayhem of a band like Japandroids, there’s a very decent chance you either already love Boston band Magic Shoppe or you will do soon. If, conversely, Mono Lake is your first Magic Shoppe record, it surely won’t be your last.

Blown-out guitar carves out lines of attack for frontman Josiah Webb’s fuzzy vocal melodies, pedal surge close to flatlining. Reveling in reverb, the jangle-pop heart of “I Feel High” is fed through an industrial mangle, the aggressive shoegaze and distortion of “Kingmaker” strong enough to peel the paint from your walls from twenty paces. The murky, lo-fi churn of retro garage-rocker “Looking Right Through” channels brawling megafauna, catchy choruses and humungous hooks buried in a landslide of scree.

Mono Lake’s real power is its consistency though, the quality from track to track punishingly high. Despite its antisocial nature, the album is also a lot of fun, tracks like “Paranormal” playing the light off the twisted angles of the metallic wreck they leave in the wake. Post-punk riffs mesmerise and, while back-masked effects disorientate, splashy cymbals draw you in further like a tractor beam. There’s no escape.

Even when the clouds break during the rhythmic “Are You There God? It’s Me, Satan”, the respite is only momentary before you’re cast back into the realm of wind-blown static and hazy gloom, searching solos circling the drain both blissfully and yet stripped of all hope. Call it masochistic melancholy, but then the spectacular closer “Drugstore Heart” creaks open a chasm in Mono Lake’s dark depths, and you want nothing more than to dive right in.

Best track: “Kingmaker”

~Mono Lake is released March 25th 2022 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records.~