It’s a wide-open sound for Majical Cloudz on Impersonator, where the duo goes from here is anyone’s guess but there’s a lovely – stately – feel to the songs on this their sophomore full-lengther, This Is Magic feeling like a torch song, but free of the faux spirit that the James Blake and James Blake soundalikes bring to this world. Instead there’s something celestial to the sound of Majical Cloudz, like a beat-less version of LCD Soundsystem at times – it’s a type of iPad soul music. A very fine type of iPad soul music.
Childhood’s End is the first track to suggest some influence from Arthur Russell, it’s there again two tracks later on Mister, the use of synth and organ to hold a note that starts it all, some programming around it, and then a voice heading out – always heading out, away from the centre of the tune, on a quest.
You take in a song like Turns Turns Turns and realise this is a form of minimalism – a sort of grand take on pop music that comes from ambient soundscapes and soft-textured ideals.
But where this album really hooks in for me is in the discovery – about half way through particularly, post Turns, starting with Silver Rings – that what we have here, or could have (fingers crossed) is a new Blue Nile. There’s just something in the way Devon Welsh’s voice works against the sometimes moody, sometimes esoteric (often both) sound ideas set up by Matthew Otto. This Canadian duo has something – has something often quite magical. The closing Notebook has me thinking back to Blue Nile’s (at this stage) swansong, High.
And that’s a good thing. A bloody lovely thing!