Other Man's BluesMagic Trick
Magic Trick returns a year after Half Man Half Machine, a more experimental effort released as two over-15-minute tracks, with their fifth official album, Other Man's Blues. Â It was written and recorded by bandleader Tim Cohen in between time dedicated to his other band, the Fresh & Onlys, and to his expanding household. Â Inspired by efficiency, Cohen worked from a songbook he made to cut down on rehearsals with the dozen-plus musicians on the record, and sessions were largely improvised. Â Back in the realm of the four-minute song, Other Man's Blues continues Magic trick's celebration of classic psychedelic pop, with brief excursions into later scenes. The opening track, Â "More", takes a trippy ride in a minor key along group vocal harmonies reminiscent of late- '60s San Francisco. Â Almost symphonic in nature, it transforms verses, choruses, and other sections as they are revisited, sometimes unexpectedly, for a track that packs a lot into its five minutes. Â The poppier "Startling Chimes" combines an R&B groove with the sounds of sitar, organ, and male-female doubled vocals to form what could have been a hit in 1966. Â The record wanders into post-punk for "I Held the Ring," which shares the doubled vocals and druggy effect of most of Other Man's Blues, if not the instrument palette. Â "Purest Thing" is another digression, with wistful synths that sound more '80s than '60s (or 2010s). Â Throughout, Cohen's knack for mature songcraft and a pleasant melody makes for an album that feels like it may have been around for years.