Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Catch A Rainbow EP - Her Magic Wand

Catch a Rainbow EP

Her Magic Wand

SCQ Rating: 76%

The idea that band-influences are all misdirection, an attempt to cozy up or bridge one’s sound to more familiar scenes, is a claim I’m often tempted to side with. Cynical though it may be, the world has witnessed too many “new Dylans” and “new Radioheads” crash and burn to ignore the irresponsible power of creating silly sonic ancestries. Yet the ties that do bind musicians are often band-related, forged after pioneering bands that impressed upon a generation reason to push the proverbial envelope. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Sparklehorse; these are bands who’ve inadvertently written indie-rock beyond their lifespans and, all of which, bands cited on Her Magic Wand’s influence-list. With smaller bands noted for their respective niche – Air, Album Leaf, AmAnSet – nestled alongside these iconic bands, all band-influences can’t be misdirection; after all, I knew I’d like Her Magic Wand before I’d even pressed play on his Myspace page.

The idea that these influences become paint-by-number telltales between author and imitator has its ring of truth as well. Catch A Rainbow EP operates like a cleverly appropriated mixtape idolizing all of Charles Braud’s musical love affairs, taking to posh electronic songwriting on the well-titled ‘Clouding Effect’ or careening the open-chord dissonance of ‘Drowned Into It’. Yet as much as these atmospheres announce a kinship to indie-tronic or shoegaze heroes (yah, as if nobody has borrowed from My Bloody Valentine before…), Her Magic Wand never wears a sound for the sake of its stylishness. Instead these influences colour Braud’s confident songwriting, providing dew to the guitar effects of ‘Mistakes’ and imbuing texture to the soothing balladry of ‘Blank Memory Track’, a highlight that breaks into a live-drum thrust of sensitive energy. Containing four songs plus an instrumental segue, Catch A Rainbow EP rides a glossy rollercoaster that knows just when to leave its listeners wanting more. If first impressions relay nothing beyond the acknowledgement that Braud has impeccable taste in music, Her Magic Wand’s latest suggests he also knows exactly how to wield it into something fresh and noteworthy.

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