Album Review: exmagician – Kiss That Wealth Goodbye EP

By on Wednesday, 25th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

exmagician Kiss That Wealth Goodbye EP coverI always feel a sense of loss when the months and years pass and I’ve heard nothing about a beloved band. Northern Irish psych band Cashier No. 9, who I met in London in 2011 the week of my birthday, fell into in this category. The last peep out of Danny Todd and his band was this free download and cover of Harry Nilsson’s ‘Moonbeam Song’, which, to be honest, left me disappointed, as it wasn’t an original song. The question in my mind was, were Cashier No. 9 finished?

While the group from Belfast appear to have disbanded permanently, the band members still standing – Todd and James Smith – have returned in a new guise, exmagician, and a debut EP. There is still that sense of whimsy that was evident in Cashier No. 9’s sound, as well as sufficiently reined in reverb and catchy melodies. Second track ‘Place Your Bets’ shows the most similarity to my favourites of 2011’s ‘To the Death of Fun’. On it, effects have been placed on Todd’s vocals, making him sound like he’s underwater, while the melody and guitars swirl and plenty of trippy oohs have been placed strategically throughout. The instrumental outro shines bright, as a trumpeter’s talents rises above the psychedelic organ.

The trumpet makes another welcome appearance on the end of EP title track ‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’, giving it an almost big band quality. It’s an interesting turn of events, as the tune begins and continues on a minor key progression delivered by a purposely indistinguishable marriage of scuzzy guitar and synth, one that would suggest darkness is up ahead. “Light up my face, straighten my tie / jump off the page, see your hope whizzing by / but they all like feeling alive / they all just let go of high hopes and kiss it goodbye”: Hello, is that a dig at fellow (but Southern and hugely popular) Irish band Kodaline? This also isn’t the first time Todd has pointed out musicians don’t make much money: see ‘Goldstar’. Of this new EP and direction, Todd says, “it’s the dirt under the fingernails.”

After the first two tracks showing off in your face swagger, the second half of the EP feels sleepy. ‘Smile to the Gallery’, while it shows similar psychedelic leanings, has a dreamy edge and minimal lyrics. The guitar work at the start before the words kick in are beautiful, evocative. The EP closes with ‘Tear On Let Off Some Steam’; it confused me, as it seems to have moved the duo backward in time back to the ’60s, being nowhere as inventive as the first two tracks. Make no mistake, the results sound good, but after such a promising first half, listening the second half is like listening to a completely different band. Which fork in the road will they take for the inevitable (hopefully, anyway) debut album? Let’s hope the former.

7/10

‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’, the debut EP from ex-Cashier No. 9 band members Danny Todd and James Smith as new artist exmagician, is out now on Bella Union.

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3 Responses

3:54 am
1st December 2015

Do you have the lyrics? I would love to publish them to spotify

2:40 am
3rd December 2015

Your best bit, I think, is to ask the band themselves. I wasn’t able to decipher all the lyrics when I listened to the songs.

2:01 pm
12th April 2016

No – best to ask the band (Twitter or Facebook perhaps?) – let me know if you manage to get them!

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