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Majical Cloudz – Impersonator

Despite being an indie kid at heart, I have always been attracted to cool, laid back styles of music. Dub reggae, downtempo electronica, ambient, dubstep,and trip hop have all appealed. What is it exactly about them? I couldn’t say. The relaxed beats maybe? Like a slow heart rate – the epitome of cool. Or it could be the minimal mixes allowing space for the listener to inhabit and project perhaps something of their own personality? There’s also the suggestion of inner strength. They say the quiet ones are the ones you have to watch. They can also be the ones to listen to. Majical cloudz are one such band. Where I would put them in the aforementioned list of genres is open to debate. A good thing, I think, to be difficult to pin down, to span boundaries. Something fresh and new.

Majical cloudz unique selling point is the vocal prowess of Devon Welsh . His is a rich, comforting voice. Not deep, actually tending toward the neutral but soulful nonetheless. Neutral maybe, but never bland. Lewis Bowman (of Chapel Club ) wouldn’t be the worst point of reference but the music augmenting this vocal performance comes in the form of twinkling, minimal keys and beats. Lead (title) track ‘Impersonator’ is the perfect start to an imperfect album -a mantra of loops and vocal overdubs sounding almost like a field holler. Gospel tinged, ‘Impersonator’ could be a slave song for the 21st century and at this point, having already heard promotional single ‘Childhoods End’, I could have really fallen for Majical cloudz. I was anticipating something truly spectacular, something to rival Dummy or Untrue . I didn’t get it. In truth ‘Childhoods End’ is the clear standout on the album matched only by ‘Turns Turns Turns’ and the title track. I will not call the rest of the songs filler. What comes through for me is the sense of being on a different wavelength. Have you ever meet somebody who is completely stoned, and you’re sober. Impersonator is like that. The things Welsh (and Matthew Otto) are saying, (lot’s of ‘death’, lots of ‘self’) deep, meaningful and heartfelt as they probably are, often sound faintly ridiculous.

“Hey mister don’t you want to be right here?”

I can’t say I’m sure.

‘Illusion’ recalls The Blue Nile but like the majority of the album this isn’t enough in itself to raise the stakes.

Fair is to say Majcal cloudz are onto something special – a rich vein they should mine for all its worth. I believe they are capable of a wonderful record. Impersonator just isn’t it. It’s the duo’s second long player and yet it still doesn’t contain enough magic. An EP of say, ‘Impersonator’, ‘Childhood’s End’, ‘Turns….’ and ‘Bugs Don’t Buzz’ would have won me over. But this full length falls down.

Majical cloudz, I wanted to love you. You nearly had me.

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