Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: Swami
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Psst! Hey kids, wanna hear something so creaky and garage-y that it sounds like it could have come out of the ‘60s surf-rock scene? Wanna hear a band that namechecks David Cronenberg’s best film in song (and that would be Videodrome)? Wanna hear a singer that is such a dead ringer for Brian Wilson in the mid-‘60s that you would be forgiven for thinking a band had gone back in time and kidnapped the Beach Boys singer to augment their reverence for all things Californian? Wanna hear a band with a such a sense of humour that they actually have a song titled “I’m Gonna Hang Out With the Lesbians Next Door and Drop Acid”? Well, have I got the band for you! San Diego’s Mrs. Magician has made a debut album in Strange Heaven that is so strong and powerful that any of its 13 songs could be a candidate for a single. Yes, they’ve got that throwback sound that has been already successfully mined by bands like The Hives, Best Coast, and, to a certain extent, Cults, but they plumb into the genre with a great deal of success, effectively blowing much of their competition out of the water.
On their debut album, Strange Heaven, Mrs. Magician split the difference between two big indie rock trends of the 2010s, borrowing the sweet harmonies and melodies from lo-fi surf-pop revivalists like Shimmering Stars and harder-hitting rock like the Soft Pack. It may not be the most original approach, but Mrs.
Loading their debut with a biting edge, Mrs. Magician becomes more than just another surf-rock band with a West Coast calling card. Strange Heaven still incorporates the sunny, beachside energy expected of San Diego natives, but this quartet arrives with a shocking amount of spunk, distinguishing them as a band who’s willing to show us the dark side of their California roots, too.
What if Black Lips were from California, instead of Georgia? I know that I’m leaving myself open to accusations of lazy journalism and that the comparison is a bit of a superficial one but there isn’t any getting away from what was my first and abiding impression of Mrs Magician and their debut album. They trawl similar depths to the Atlanta band, utilise similar methods and structures in their music and while they don’t really sound very similar, Mrs Magician do sound like the same type of band as the creators of 200 Million Thousand. This isn’t, as you might discover, a very bad thing.