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Magma - Merci CD (album) cover





2.76 | 259 ratings

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5 stars Having listened this album about 20 times in the last 72 hours and reading the majority of the reviews here, I can safely say this is the most underrated album in the history of underrated albums.

In some respects, it is understandable: Mr. Vander does not play drums in this LP, the first track has an unexpected drum machine replacing him, and even on other tracks, clear disco beats are not unusual. And yet, the dismissal from fans seems equally as puzzling: when you remove the preconceptions about what a Magma album should sound like, something Mr. Vander always tried to defy and one of the reasons why he is so rightly revered, the first track is a bombastic starter for the album. Miss Vander rips it as a disco/soul singer, giving any American diva a run for their money - just killing it.

Then comes Otis, a fantastic, soothing and spiritual track, with Mr. Vander singing beautifully - a track deserving of inclusion in a best of compilation of any respectability, despite being sang in french.

Then comes Do the Music, a funky fusion track where the band just nails it - the drums especially, almost making you forget the drummer isn't Mr. Vander.

I Must Return starts cute, but builds into a more spiritual, engaging and impactful tune with gospel overtones.

Lastly, Elephas Levi and The Night We Died end the album in a moody gospel, again another couple of tracks that should figure in a best of. The album ends and all you want is for it to begin again. And so it did in my record player - over and over. The echoes of this music, simple yet powerful, are still going in my brain as I write these words - the album is calling me back again. It's just that good.

The oddness and out-thereness of Magma is still here in spades, but here Mr. Vander reveals clearly and obviously the Soul influences that were hidden here and there in his previous work, and makes a stunning, personal, emotional and truly amazing album. Without a doubt, and regardless of fans' prejudice, this is one of their best.

handwrist | 5/5 |


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