SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #200 : MAGIC EYE

Here’s an intro you might be familiar with:-

The hard drive contains a substantial number of singers/bands of whom I have the foggiest. They are there because they have:-

(a) contributed to a compilation album/CD that I’ve got in the collection; or

(b) been downloaded from another blog or site and I’ve been too lazy or stupid to keep note of the original posting.

And once again, today’s one-off is in the former camp. I do actually have three of their songs on the hard drive, courtesy of two being included within a split 12” single and the other offered as part of a sampler given away by Matthew Young, the owner of Song, By Toad Records in 2013.

Magic Eye were from Edinburgh, and there was a really good write-up of them in a broadsheet paper published in that very city, on 6 July 2012:-

If you can say one thing about Edinburgh’s Magic Eye, it’s that they are aptly named.

They make music that seems vague and opaque on a first listen but rewards close attention with the emergence of points of reference, texture and new angles.

The band themselves describe their sound as ‘aquarium rock’ and it’s not a bad way of illustrating the heady mix of reverb, phaser, flanger and chorus that swamps their recordings. Don’t mistake their use of effects as reliance or a crutch though – there are real songs in there, with proper hooks to get under your skin.

Formed by three flatmates – Alex Johnston, Bek Oliva and Roma Galloway – the line-up was completed by Francis Dosoo on drums and they set about recording their first EP. Released just last month on New York label Animal Image Search, the band also went on a UK tour to support it, playing gigs in London and Brighton with Female Band and finishing up with some Scottish dates alongside Tangles and Mother Ganga.

In terms of influences, Alex says that they “really like The KLF, Keith Sweat, and Delia Derbyshire” but that “the Durrutti Column informed the sound at the start because that’s what we were listening to”. While traces of the Mancunian post-punks can certainly be detected in the guitar tones and overall aesthetic, you can also hear shades of the Cocteau Twins in the atmospheres and melodies.

Alex believes the future looks bright for the Scottish music scene, principally because it is becoming less parochial. “The Scottish music scene is good, but all the good stuff feels more worldwide than Scottish which is cool,” he says. “LuckyMe do super good club nights and releases in Scotland. Rustie and Hudson Mohawke blow our minds!”

It’s clear from the way the band talks about music that they are not only creators but voracious consumers too, leading you to conclude that there is nothing accidental about their sound, and that they know exactly how they want to be heard.

The future looks busy for the group too, with a split 12” coming out in November on the reliable barometer of taste that is Song, By Toad Records, and a full album which is going through the mixing process now.

Judging by what’s available on Discogs, the optimistic future envisaged didn’t quite pan out. The split 12” was followed not by any full album on vinyl but by a limited edition cassette in 2014, after which they appear to have called it a day.

Here’s the song that Matthew made available via the sampler.

mp3 : Magic Eye – Golden Circle

JC

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