ALBUM REVIEW: Exmagician – Scan The Blue

Scan the Blue is the newest offering from Belfast band Exmagician, going for a louder, bolder sound than that of their previous project Cashier No.9. The band’s name derives from the Pavement song “Trigger Cut” which aptly describes the process that members Daniel Todd and James Smith went through to get to where they are today: /And if I lose it/ I’ll be coming back one day/ Ex-magician/ Still knows the tricks. Judging by their debut album, they not only still know the tricks, but have finely crafted them too, into the triumph that is Scan the Blue.

There is a sense of meticulous planning that has gone into the creation of this album. Each song has been carefully ordered to run-on and complement the next track, a strength that the band has artfully mastered. Threaded throughout each song is the arcane sound of the synthesizer, tying each track together, whilst never straying into the territory of unoriginal.

The album starts off with “Kiss the Wealth Goodbye” a standout track that sets the bar high for what’s to follow, cementing Exmagician’s status as a grittier offering than previous efforts. “Feet Don’t Fall” slows down the tempo of the album significantly, introducing a Beck-esque melody to the album, which suits the band. Succeeding the track is “Job Well Done” a well-executed song highlighting the intelligence of the songwriters through their meaningful lyrics. “Smile to the Gallery” is a slow-burner, a song that sticks with the listener after it’s finished, demonstrating how much a synthesizer can really add to a track while the song “Wild Eyes” shows just how much fun these Irish lads are having.

The band plays with a lot of influences throughout the songs, skirting between rock, indie and psychedelic sounds, to create an album that symbolises an homage to all three. The album ends on the perfect note with “Scan the Blue” a song that promises more to follow, making it the ideal track to lend its name to the album title. Notably different from the opening track, the song draws to a fading melodic close, prompting the listener to put the album on another loop.

8/10

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