Halcyon Daze

Magic Potion play with dreamy nostalgia on their new LP.


Isn’t it strange that we still get bands that cement themselves within certain time periods? There’s The Strypes, a gathering of 60’s homunculi; The Editiors, who were practically playing dress up as Joy Division and contemporaries; and now we have Magic Potion, who are so influenced by the 90’s (2007?) that you might mistakenly try to buy their new album, Pink Gum, from Virgin Megastore.

This isn’t a negative statement, mind. We can state these sounds are dated pretty easily, but they’re not. It’s been long enough to appreciate them for what they are and Magic Potion provide grounds for this nicely. The whole album feels cozy. The lugubrious guitars, drenched in chorus and reverb sit somewhere between the psychedelics of Olivia Tremor Control and the raw lo-fi waddling of a Stephen Malkmus project. This is beautifully demonstrated on half-country, half-surf cut Deep Web, a lullaby for the record buyin’, weed smokin’ public, that further holds its place in time with a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles advert sample in the middle eight.

There is something strangely attractive about the laziness of this recording, as well. The mixing is reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel and Sebadoh in a way that makes you nostalgic for those first attempts of song writing as a teenager, recording them straight to 8-track for memory. The playing here, however, is a lot more polished than those early bedroom demos would have been; as off as the guitar leads may be in some places, they’re always played with precision.

Here’s the problem with this LP – as gorgeously nostalgic as it is, and as warmly, lovingly produced as it is, it’s simply too basic. There’s a feeling that every track is too similar. They all seem to follow the structure that early 90’s emo started with, and has been revived recently by acts such as Pity Sex. I want this band to get rid of the restraints, somewhat, and kick against the genre with a bit of anger. The dreaminess can only take you so far.

The cover for this album is a very glossy photograph of a piece of pink bubblegum. In a sense, this suits the album. Pink is how I’d describe the colour of the bands music, sticky and stretchy – the production. The photograph however, suggests sharpness to the taste, sourness. This is what Magic Potion need really, an Atomic Fizz Bomb to be dropped into their sweet, gloopy gum.

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