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Magic Pie - Motions Of Desire  CD (album) cover

MOTIONS OF DESIRE

Magic Pie

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 201 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Motions Of Desire' - Magic Pie (6/10)

If there's any place in the world which has been keeping symphonic prog going, it's been Scandinavia. It is arguably the most definitive 'prog' sound, and as such, is quick to attract and inspire likeminded musicians to make their own stab at the sound. Magic Pie is now one of the most talked about acts in Scandinavian prog rock, and since its release, their debut album 'Motions Of Desire' has stirred some controversy. That may not be so surprising, due to the genre's devoted fanbase; the notion of a band attempting to reinvent a classic sound is sure to inspire curiosity in some, and hatred in others. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of this. While symphonic prog could use a fresh voice in the new millennium, I am not sure that Magic Pie offers anything that moves beyond what the old giants innovated.

What I imagine Magic Pie started off as is a group of musicians that were bound by their love of vintage prog, and sought to pay tribute to the music they love. The result is a very keyboard-dominant brand of prog that thirsts for twenty minute songs, complex instrumental passages, and everything that people love (or hate) about the style of music known as prog. While I have never found Magic Pie to be particularly inspiring of a listen, their talent goes without saying. Especially on this debut, the keyboard work of Gilbert Marshall is a real highlight, focusing on a rich vintage organ sound that's sure to titilate a fan of classic prog. The vocals are strong, but not so well integrated into the instrumentation, which is most certainly the highlight of the band. For a band that certainly aims for the more pastoral, organic prog sound, their production sounds a little too polished, and this very precise execution may scream 'masterpiece' for some, but it robs some of the excitement that I would have felt from a warmer sound.

Throughout 'Motions Of Desire' (and especially on the opening epic 'Changes' and cornerstone 'Illusions Of Reality'), Magic Pie also create some very convincing instrumental passages. Often driven by the keyboards, this band certainly knows how to play together, and while they cannot be lauded much for their originality, there are moments here that bring new life to the symphonic progressive style. On the other hand, taking these massive compositions holistically, Magic Pie never makes these epics as effectively as they should. While the parts and pieces here are sometimes downright incredible to listen to, the way they are stringed together is lackluster, and I think that much of the music here may have benefited from more concise compositions. Take the analogy of stacking a bunch of solid bricks on top of one another; a taller tower may make the mason proud, but shorter stacks would have made for a more intriguing listen.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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