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Magenta The Twenty Seven Club album cover
3.84 | 238 ratings | 9 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Lizard King (12:01)
2. Ladyland Blues (10:45)
3. Pearl (8:17)
4. Stoned (11:24)
5. The Gift (6:59)
6. The Devil at the Crossroads (14:46)

Total Time: 64:12

Bonus DVD from 2013 SE:
A. Album 5.1 Surround Mix (64:12)
B. Album HiRes Stereo Mix (64:12)
C. The Making of 'The Twenty Seven Club' documentary (107:28)
D. The Lizard King Promo Video (5:18)

Line-up / Musicians

- Christina Booth / lead vocals
- Chris Fry / electric & slide guitars
- Rob Reed / keyboards, bass, electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, recorders, backing vocals, producing & mixing

- Andy Edwards / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Bjorn Goosses

2xLP Plane Groovy ‎- PLG018 (2013, UK)

CD + DVD Tigermoth Records ‎- TMRCD0913 (2013, UK) Bonus DVD with full album Stereo & Surround mixes plus Making Of documentary and a Video clip

Thanks to Second Life Syndrome for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MAGENTA The Twenty Seven Club ratings distribution

(238 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MAGENTA The Twenty Seven Club reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars I love a great concept album, and I feel that Magenta's new album, "The Twenty-Seven Club", is a great example of creativity and careful thought. This much anticipated new album is named after that tragic club of young musicians that have all died at the age of 27. It's a depressing subject, but Magenta really takes it and makes it something artistic and thought-provoking.

Magenta has certainly brought more to the plate than just a good concept, however. This album rings with confident composition and maturity. This album is made up of six longer tracks that vary in style to some degree. I found that each track has a certain unique side to it, as well. The album itself starts out with a bang under the flag of the "The Lizard King". Symphonic elements are in full force here, and the subtly psychedelic layers really add a forcefully pleasant aspect to the music. Despite the subject material, "The Twenty-Seven Club" is not dark or dreary. But, utilizing a great mix of symphonic and neo-prog elements, Magenta manages to make this album feel joyous. The well-mixed inclusion of orchestral backdrops creates an addictive level of melody to every inch of this album, too. Groovy, and bluesy. Proggy, but accessible. "The Twenty-Seven Club" excels from the tops of the synth towers to the bottoms of the gorgeous vocal lines.

Speaking of vocals, Christian Booth really shines here. She comes across as quite a story- teller, as she leads us through emotional highs and lows. She sounds really young, to be honest, but her voice is still tempered with experience. This album also happens to feature Andy Edwards (Frost*) on drums. His style is very apparent, as his fills are interesting and well-executed. He is always right on the mark. Solid performances are also turned in by Chris Fry on guitars and Rob Reed on keys. These two manage to have a great sounding relationship where they play off of one another expertly. I did find some of the guitar tones to be a little too "hard rock" for my tastes, but that was only here and there. For the most part, the communion of the guitars and keys is very impressive, especially when the keys are leading the melody in epic fashion.

So, from the epic keys of "The Lizard King" to the groovy rhythms of "Ladyland Blues" to the delicate vocal lines of "The Gift" to the strong guitars of "Stoned", this new album from Magenta really shines. And the finale, "The Devil at the Crossroads", combines all these elements with a meandering vocal style to finish the album with finesse. This album, without a doubt, deserves a place among the best of 2013.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This is a decent album from some incredibly talented musicians who are, unfortunately, stuck in Drama-era YES, Duke/ABACAB-era GENESIS, and Please Don't Touch-era STEVE HACKETT. As a matter of fact, I can think of no more talented group of musicians, top to bottom, than Magenta; it's just a shame how unoriginal their music and sounds have become. But what mires this group in absolute mediocrity, in my opinion, is the banal, nebulous lyrics. I mean, were it not for the song titles, who would these songs refer to? The lyrics certainly don't make it obvious. Given some more poetic, meaningful lyrics it would be a wonder what Christina Booth could deliver. Given a severence from their 1979 musical mother, what wonders of originality could these virtuosic musicians create?

Four star songs: "The Devil at The Crossroads," "The Gift," "Pearl," and "Stoned."

A 3.5 star album rated down because it truly fits the "Good, but not essential" description.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Magenta's Twenty Seven Club finds the trio of band founders Rob Reed and Christina Booth and loyal guitarist Chris Fry turning out some fairly typical material. By this point none of this material is especially surprising coming from Magenta, being as it is accessible, melodic neoprog built to showcase Booth's vocals. Decent, but as far as numerically titled Magenta albums go it's no Seven; then again, if you're really into neo-prog and don't mind that Magenta are rather repeating themselves here, it might be worth your while, and I admit that the album concept (paying tribute to a brace of classic musicians who all died at 27 - how many can you guess from the song titles?) is quite fun.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rob Reed is a much-maligned prog wunderkind, putting together quite a career with Cyan, but kicking it up a notch with the ongoing Magenta collaboration with Christina Booth and Chris Fry. Last year, Rob stunned the prog world with the incredible Kompendium adventure, a Celtic masterpiece that carried a cast of superstars from progland = Steve Hackett, Steve Balsamo, Nick Beggs, Francis Dunnery, John Mitchell, Nick Barrett, Jakko Jakszyk , Dave Stewart, Gavin Harrison, Mel Collins and Troy Donockley. The Welsh multi- instrumentalist has always shined on keyboards, especially piano but his guitar work was quite tasty as well. I have noticed that lately his bass guitar talents have gone through the roof but with 'the 27 Club', it borders on low end genius!

I have enjoyed Magenta's past catalogue with the exception of 2011's Chameleon which just did not seduce me in any noticeable way. In fact, I still consider 'Seven' to be their peak achievement but it may get a run from 'the 27 Club'! Obviously, a concept album based on rock stars dying at the age of 27 is not a huge surprise yet no one has done it yet and I must say, it is a compelling story line. I personally do not believe in coincidence, as it appears to be a moral balm for the young and naive and like religion, loaded with convenience and simplicity. Truth is that the human condition is particularly frail and achieves its zenith of confusion and identity search between the ages of 20 and 29, where (let's be honest) 95% of all our mistakes are made! So, obsessive mindsets like rock stars are often victims of their delusions, fuelled by drugs, alcohol and easy sexual access, leading the weaker ones down a path towards perdition. What a surprise! Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones (Stones) , blues legend Robert Johnson and lately Amy Winehouse are all prototypical disasters waiting to happen, inner conflicts eating away morbidly at their sense of caution.

'The Lizard King' may be the finest track here, a compelling 12 minute tale of the ebullient and riotous character that was Mr. Morrison and the multiple delusional Doors he kept going through (pun). Slight Oriental atmospherics, whooshing torrents of keyboards and a heady beat characterize the speedboat style adopted here with Christina doing some vocalizing that searches for some utopian ideal. Bruising, brooding and brazen, the mood is mosaic of various styles where the eccentric, ecstatic, slightly manic all congeal into one. Watch for the glorious Reed on bass and Edwards on drums interplay! Fry sheers of a few sizzling solos that hint at Howe's mastery of slicing riffs and searing flights. The chorus is instantaneously recognizable as typical Magenta from past efforts, a buildup of emotion that scores on multiple levels. This track is a total winner and a jot to listen to.

'Ladyland Blues' is the bass-heavy, Yes-influenced epic complete with high treble Squired bass, zinging Howish guitar strolls and bashing drums from the incredibly endowed Andy Edwards. Even Christina comes across as an Anderson daughter, soaring high and mighty. Chris Fry just rips through the piece, as befitting a guitar legend that Hendrix was and is, in memoriam. It does not get better than this, a densely compact, effusive and positive eulogy to a guitar legend without any gratuitous photocopying, staying rather true to the Magenta sound, including some fine acoustic sections as well as lovely harmony vocal sections. Fry displays rather fluid tendencies with the occasional use of wah-wah pedal, tastily expressed by the soloist and wisely adorned by the band. As such, this piece segues very nicely from the opening masterpiece.

The sedate 'Pearl' obviously refers to Janis, a meteoric career cut short by sudden death caused by the demonic duo of the early 70s, alcohol and heroin. Reed has wisely opted for a more solemn sound as opposed to the bruising and rollicking sound Joplin was famous for and as such, the song reigns totally supreme. Subtle organ ruffles gently in the background while Christina Booth supplies her finest vocal performance ever, even better than on Seven's 'Envy', the bass holding down the beat as Fry unleashes a crisp yet bluesy axe solo , very much in the early 70s style with some early picking , followed by a magnificent slide lead. No cheap thrills here, all is quite reverential and heartfelt, surprisingly so for a prog band, I guess! A forlorn piano bring this gorgeous ballad to rest.

'Stoned' is another midnight rambler, 11 minutes of inspired progressive rock that conjures up images of those early days of rock music when everything was open season and all kinds of social and musical taboos were addressed and some even dispatched. If you are expecting a hint of gathering moss, you will be happy to note that Magenta applies their own veneer to the proceedings. Personally, I am famous for my deep dislike of the Rolling Stones, feeling they have done nothing since Brian Jones was found floating in a chlorine- flavoured swimming pool in 1969. But the music here is highly evocative, with numerous time changes, acoustic touches and a deeply pained vocal from Booth, who again shines on this entire album. Fry stings his fret board convincingly, twirling and swirling freely as he releases a whopping solo. Reed then supplies a breezy synth solo to close the deal, corseted by a guitar finale.

The controversial Kurt Cobain is in the spotlight for 'The Gift' , a gentle yet inspired short piece that has little Nirvana , yet a lot of sadness within the grooves, another inspirational 2 album wonder child who just could not deal with the exertions of life. Orchestral strings usher in a forlorn ballad, with just Christina manning the mike stand and delivering a surging performance. The initial brooding mood explodes into a full-fledged explosion of symphonic splendour, with bass, drums, keys and guitar in tow. Reed shows off his considerable piano talents, delicate and ornate in adorning the piece with some reverent class. Fry slouches little by delivering a sublime guitar solo, simple, direct and evocative.

Robert Johnson was a Mississippi guitar legend who allegedly tried the Dr. Faust thing, willing to sell his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for fame and fortune, by choosing a deliberate path at a crossroads. Perhaps fate intervened to foil the devil's plot because Johnson died poor and miserable, perhaps poisoned by a jealous husband. Eric Clapton and many others consider him the greatest blues singer ever. Magenta once again provide the ideal backdrop for the mythical drama of the Devil swaying innocent souls to perdition. Booth sings with intense fire while the crew solidly back her exaltations with superlative measure. Fry in particular squeezes our some bluesy delta licks which fits the piece perfectly. A fine ending to a thoroughly enthralling musical package.

Brilliant cover and artwork, booklet and packaging, this is a welcome high point in Magenta's career and fine return to form. Fascinating subject matter that has surprisingly not been addressed by the story-obsessed prog community even though it's all very contemporary and relevant, what with the recent demise of the highly effusive Amy Winehouse. As with the exalted Kompendium project, it must be said the Reed is flying high and soaring with successful prog masterstrokes. Plus he is way older than 27!

4.5 exploding supernovas

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Yet again Magenta are working as a core trio, with Christina Booth (vocals), Chris Fry (guitars) and Rob Reed (everything else) plus a guest drummer in Andy Edwards. Now, I known Rob for many years and even put Cyan on the cover of Feedback in another lifetime, and have followed his musical adventures with interest. But it has been with Magenta that he has made his name within the neo-prog scene, and this album will only do more to enhance that reputation. This is a concept album in the sense that each of the songs is about a different musician who passed away when they were 27, so for example we start with "The Lizard King" and end with "The Devil At The Crossroads", and throughout we are treated to some wonderful soaring progressive rock, and while Rob is at the heart of what is happening musically it is Christina who will always be the star of the show.

She has a wonderful voice, with great range, control and emotion, with a timbre not unlike Steve Nicks in her prime, yet with more soul and passion. Rob knows how to write material that is going to highlight this, and together they have combined to produce another album that is sheer class from start to finish. Chris's guitar provides the cut through that provides the additional edge that is needed, the harsher solo that takes away any thoughts of saccharine, the rock riffs that provide the depth. Andy Edwards proves yet again why he is such a sought after drummer with a powerful performance, while Rob is everywhere, providing fills and solos in whatever instrument he is using.

This is a band with a large sound, and in Christina have one of the finest singers around, combined with music that is always searching a way forward. Some may condemn this as just another neo-prog album, as for some reason that is a sub genre which purists often look down upon, but I and many others really enjoy this as a musical form, and there are as few as adept at it as Magenta. It may not be in quite the same league as 'Seven', but is a damn fine album all the same and one I enjoyed immensely.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars I had originally planned to get Magenta's "Seven" as my first Magenta CD because it's their highest rated album on PA. But the concept behind "The Twenty Seven Club" intrigued me and so I ordered this album without giving it a preliminary listen.

My first impression from the start was that the music was just like Arena until the wah-wah guitar comes in (on "The Lizard King") when I then thought it sounded like Syzygy or Anima Mundi. Vocalist Christina Booth comes in and sings well enough but I soon felt that she didn't have anything to distinguish herself from other run-of-the-mill female vocalists. The music sounded very good, an excellent example of symphonic / neo-prog with all the I's dotted and T's crossed. The ingredients had all been measured carefully for a tasty audio treat. But there was nothing that felt new, original, or particularly memorable. This left me sitting on a fence about having bought the album. It's all good but something was missing.

Some albums do need a bit of time to absorb and so I ploughed on ahead listening through the whole album, digesting my impressions, listening again, digesting... In conclusion, I think it is a very good if not great example of symphonic / neo-progressive rock. But I still feel something was left out of the recipe, something the band could have put in themselves to make it a unique dish.

The second track, "Ladyland Blues" is about Jimi Hendrix but if you didn't know that you'd be very unlikely to guess. The music style changes to sounding like Glass Hammer or Anima Mundi again. There are lots of good change ups in the music: sudden stops, abrupt shifts from fast to slow, rapid playing and slower playing. But I began to wonder if Magenta couldn't have tried to add some flavour of the artists they were writing about in the music. Maybe that was the obvious approach and they decided early on to avoid that. But after two songs about modern pop music legends, I feel like I have been listening to a female-fronted Syzygy / Glass Hammer / Anima Mundi.

By "Pearl" I feel the album is starting to improve in interest. This is a song for the sake of the song. It's emotive and Booth's singing has begun to suggest some soul and not just getting the notes out right. It feels right that a song about Janis Joplin should have this more emotional treatment rather than just a display of compositional skills and great prog playing.

On to Brian Jones' song "Stoned", we get a some late British sixties vocals that sound like they'd fit into an Austin Powers movie soundtrack along with some quick guitar playing. But soon we are back to more Glass Hammer / Syzygy music. Then the vocals come in with the lyrics and the music becomes upbeat. It's refreshing. Once the chorus vocals begin I feel the song is sounding pretty good. There's a synthesizer solo and a guitar solo that both seem to go for feeling rather than technical fireworks, and the piano and acoustic guitar with the vocals that follow the solos are rather beautiful. This has become one of my preferred songs on the album.

Kurt Cobain's song "The Gift" opens surprisingly with strings. Booth's vocals are sung a bit lower and she sounds not only better but even reminiscent of Joanne Hogg of Iona. By this point in the album I feel that Booth sounds better singing slower songs with her voice a bit lower or singing with backing vocals. The more energetic and dramatic music that appears on much of the album is a stretch for her. She can sing no doubt. But any soul behind her singing only seems to show up on moments like the beginning of this song.

"Devil at the Crossroads" is perhaps the only song to actually intentionally include some flavour alluding to the subject of the song. There are parts that include a bit of acoustic blues guitar, saluting Robert Johnson. The longest song on the album, there are lots of twists and turns in the music with faster sections suddenly changing to slower acoustic music with piano and acoustic guitar. There's some beautiful and powerful strings supporting the band in one part and a dark heavy guitar passage that comes up a couple of times. Though the music does little to break new ground, I find this song mixes things up very well and for me, it's the most enjoyable track on the album.

In summary, the music is well-crafted throughout and there are many moments approaching the sublime. I just feel that it is mostly very by-the-numbers and too similar to the bands I mentioned above. Christina Booth can sing very well but I feel her true vocal talents only creep up in certain places and for much of the album she is a singer of someone else's work and hasn't really made the songs her own. Overall an terrific album that just needed a little something more to make it stand out from a background of other similar sounding music.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Most records of Magenta have made me think this band was a modern synthesis of Renaissance and Yes, a combination of "Fragile" and "Turn of the cards", with some ingredients of Pink Floyd here and there, close to symphonic rock perfection. "The twenty seven club" confirms this impression more obv ... (read more)

Report this review (#1078084) | Posted by Kjarks | Sunday, November 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This year's record "The Twenty Seven Club" by the British band Magenta is absolutely a record I would recommend for its difference. In one way it is mainstream prog but essentially not with its clear instruments, both acoustic and electric and the great female vocal this record gives us. Magen ... (read more)

Report this review (#1069112) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Magenta's sixth studio album comes after 2011's Chameleon, which in my opinion was their weakest album. It was deliberately released as a collection of shorter, more accessible songs which inevitably resulted in a less "proggy" album. The 27 Club, again deliberately, is at the other end of the pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1048888) | Posted by FatOldSun | Monday, September 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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