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Magic Pie - King For A Day CD (album) cover


Magic Pie


Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 170 ratings

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2 stars Oh dear! I was really taken with the first two offerings from MP = "Motions of Desire" and "Circus of Life". Excellent music throughout and both very easy on the ear. Things started to go downhill with "The suffering joy" as the band veered away from the symphonic in favour of the histrionic, underpinned by self-consciously odd time structures for dramatic effect. "Suffering and joyless" would have been a more apt title! I had high expectations of "King for a day", hoping that the band would see the error of its ways and recover its original style, but no - I fear the downward journey is complete.

I have no idea what musical genre now most appropriately befits MP. Aside from "Silent Giant", which knows which side its bread is buttered on, this is just an unrelenting barrel-ful of mulligatawny soup, richly flavoured in that it contains a few snippets of genuinely excellent melodies, but with far too many dollops of sour cream scattered liberally about, in the very worst tradition of Spock's Beard. Seems to me that the band is now trying too hard to find its sense of direction.

"Trick of the Trade" is bog-standard dad rock, a genre which (I thought) came to an inglorious end some 30 years ago. (Its only redeeming feature was the briefest of snatches which brought to mind a long-forgotten track from the CD Garden Shed by England, which duly sent me scurrying back to listen again to that "lost" classic.)

"Introversion" delivers much of the same, this time interspersed with some slower passages which try (but fail) to lend an extra dimension of subtlety and feeling.

"According to Plan" is yet more run-of-the mill rock, albeit allied to some pretty nifty rhythmic gymnastics and multi-layered harmonies - an effortless graduate from the Spock's Beard school of bombast. Overblown and overly intricate at one and the same time.

"Tears gone dry" kicks off with about 6 minutes of absolutely gorgeous guitar and (later) vocals, but then, inevitably, degenerates once more into powerful dad rock schmaltz which had you running for cover.

"Silent giant" has already been mentioned in despatches.

Which brings us to" King for a day", MP's magnum opus. A veritable 27 minute romp through a range of musical styles with no discernible link between them. If the band had managed to cut out the excess frills and dross, this could have been a truly magnificent "epic". As it is, a terrifically sweeping and dynamic finale (covering the last 7 minutes) comes across as a precious orchid...but you have to hack through 25 miles of Japanese knot-weed before you get there. Which is simply 25 miles of effort too far.

tbstars1 | 2/5 |


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