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Magma - Merci CD (album) cover





2.67 | 219 ratings

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3 stars Magma goes R&B/Soul in Merci, an album that is maligned as the worst Magma album. It could be the least Magma sounding album, and that's why it's disliked. That doesn't mean there isn't anything of quality here. Merci presents a less serious and more fun version of Magma that wouldn't be seen before or after it. It is also worth noting that Merci has songs in English, French, and Kobaļan, making it their most multilingual album.

"Call From the Dark" opens the album, and is sung in English. It is a Funk song with a horn section and Stella Vander singing lead. She belts out to the best of her ability. This song was later remade as "Love in the Darkness" by Christian Vander's other band, Offering. This, combined with the change in musical direction, makes Merci seem more like the first Offering album than Magma. "Otis" is sung in French by Christian. His voice ranges from quiet whisper to startling screech. The song could be dedicated to Otis Redding, one of Christian's influences.

"Do the Music" is next, and sounds like the first song in Kobaļan. It's another Funk song, maybe even Disco. "Otis (Ending)" rounds out side one, with an organ and vocal composition. "I Must Return" has some cheesiness. It sounds like it would fit in a production of Magma: the Musical, or a TV theme song. It has some questionable lyrics such as "Don't open windows". What that's about, I don't know. My least favourite on the album. It's the song that has aged most poorly. "Eliphas Levi", named after a French occult author, is the longest song here. A gentle piano and vocal composition with occasional percussion. It could be one of the prettiest Magma songs. Again, it sounds a lot like Offering. It's 11 minutes, but that isn't too much for this song. "The Night We Died" gets its title and melody from "I Must Return". This time, it is sung in Kobaļan. There are pleasant vocal harmonies in this song, and it ends a little dark. Not a bad ending to Merci.

For a long time, Merci would be the last Magma album. The band split up after its release in 1984. It would take 20 years for another studio album to be released. This record must have been a shock to Magma fans. I could only imagine the disappointment they felt, when they bought the album, hoping for another Kobaļan epic. What you get is a Prog band going Pop. Definitely not a fan favourite, but it's worth revisiting.

thebig_E | 3/5 |


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