Magic Man enchants with ‘Before the Waves’

A gorgeous sea of neon on the cover of Magic Man's Before the Waves.

photo via josepvinaixa.com under Creative Commons license

A gorgeous sea of neon on the cover of Magic Man’s Before the Waves.

Alec Badalian, Film/Staff Writer

This year, summertime in particular, was chock full of hit songs and artists. Every week or so it seemed like there’d be a new #1 single on top of the charts, and then another one the week after. Songs like Sam Smith’s slow, mellow “Stay With Me,” Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s undeniably catchy “Fancy” and Magic!’s cod-reggae beat “Rude.” But the real magic of the summer was buried under all these mainstream hits and can be found in the debut album Before the Waves from Boston based indie band Magic Man.

Having self-released their own garage band-esque music on YouTube prior to their first major label release, the band entered the music world with only a bit of musical experience and have since grown into a touring powerhouse. The album begins with “Texas,” a fast dance beat that, at its core, is about the wondrous effect music can inflict upon people. The song opens with the narrator claiming that “you are about to embark on the most wonderful experience of your lives. I can’t explain at this moment how and why it works, I don’t have the time, just dance.” The band immediately sets their theme of the album with style and delivers hit after hit from then on out.

The band immediately sets their theme of the album with style and delivers hit after hit from then on out.”

— Alec Badalian

The record’s two singles, “Paris” and “Out of Mind,” have their own refreshingly distinct sounds, one being heavily electronic and utilizing mostly synths while the other uses a more instrumental approach. Lead singer Alex Caplow’s voice is irresistibly sweet on one of the more moody tracks, “Honey,” in which the vocalist is simply mesmerizing. Caplow also shines in “Chicagoland,” one of the three odes to the life of traveling the band has on the album.

What’s perhaps most impressive and unique about the band is their implementation of synths. A majority of their songs have a largely indietronica feel, especially the audibly gorgeous track “Waves.” Here the synthesizers go all out, blasting this incredibly flashy sound. This track is quite possibly the best on the album, though all the others are spectacular as well.

Before the Waves is a subversive, exciting collection of magnificent songs performed by a group of wonderful young performers. Their themes are significant, their musical approach is tasteful, and their energy is invigorating. This horribly underappreciated indie record from this equally underappreciated band absolutely deserves more recognition.