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Album review, Music, Review


MAGIC TRICK — Ruler Of The Night
(Hardly Art)

Indefatigable crooner Tim Cohen’s defeatist melancholia wins PETE WALSH’s heart.

I love a band that is willing to strike a connection between their cover art and the music on the CD wedged between it. Magic Trick pull this off swimmingly. The Mexican-feeling execution scene on the cover of Ruler Of The Night emulates the melancholic dreariness that pervades the San Francisco quartet’s debut full-length album.

Based around the professional crooner and music aficionado Tim Cohen, Magic Trick is the corporeal manifestation of the songwriter’s musical genius. The interstellar, almost-Ziggy Stardust quality of the opening title track is a tad misleading, as the album shifts into a soft rock shtick that slowly morphs into gentle indie-infused melancholic tones and back to ethereal whimsy on the closing number  Say Your Name. Add to this a manic rollercoaster ride through music genres, the almost disturbing likeness to slower Nine Inch Nails (Hurt) and Sonic Youth-via-Carpenters (Superstar) tunes — especially on vocals — and you’ll start to get an idea of what sort of magic is on this album.

The inconsistency here is beyond endearing: it’s an intangible smorgasbord of taut musical creations that will tantalise ears. As Torture begs, “don’t make me wait one minute longer to crawl over the line” and Weird Memory mourns “they ran off false love, hearts and minds, to the river, the Greenland, the seaside”, reading the lyrics from start to finish feels like a world-weary novel following the transient emotions of a tortured artist who comes to an all-too-soon end.

PETE WALSH is an ex-Rave contributor and vagrant writer as well as a bit of a literati, music aficionado and coffee snob.



Media & comms pro who works in mysterious ways. Writer, vinyl enthusiast, sort-of cineaste, history and geopolitics nerd and (nearly) reformed muso. Has a soft spot for hyphens and slashes. Will chew off your ear about obscure music, random facts and world football.


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