Magic Kids: Memphis

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Artist: Magic Kids

Title: Memphis
Release date: August 24
Label: True Panther

Paying tribute to Pet Sounds seems to be passé among the new crop of indie bands. Now, it seems a lot of these kids are all about a post-Pet Sounds era, one in which the Baroque elements of Brian Wilson's masterpiece take center stage. So it is with the Memphis band Magic Kids, on their debut record.

And it sure is a sunshine-y, peppy result, a brief blast (28 minutes) of Aquarian pop that initially will put a smile on your face but leave you wishing for just one minor chord to temper the sweet innocence of it all.

These guys sing about girls ("Candy"), superballs ("Superball"), hideouts ("Hideout"), summer ("Summer"), skating rinks ("Skateland"), the radio ("Radio"), and sailing ("Sailing"). There's french horn, strings, a children's chorus, and countless other tricks to beef up the cuteness factor. The songs are well-constructed and catchy, and they bounce along like a baby-oiled Herman's Hermits-meets-The Association-meets-The 5th Dimension twee-pop machine. 

Magic Kids - Hey Boy

Note: Magic Kids are scheduled to perform Friday, September 3, at the Trunk Space with the decidedly harder-rocking Titus Andronicus.

Best song: "Candy," the record's only major concession to the current indie-pop aesthetic.
Rotation: Medium
Deja vu: A less-eclectic Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
I'd rather listen to: The Sunshine Company
Grade: B- 

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment 


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