There are many bands that met in high school and there are also bands comprised of siblings. The Magic Numbers are a band with a happy match of both times two. Siblings Sean and Angela Gannon grew up in Hanwell, London, and became neighbors with Romeo and Michele Stodart when they moved there from New York City. Sean and Romeo formed a band together first, but it wasn’t until their sisters joined them as the Magic Numbers in 2002 that things really started clicking. By 2006, four songs had placed in the top 25 of the UK singles chart and the band had also gained a healthy recognition from the US indie pop scene as well.
So it’s been four years since the last release from the Magic Numbers. The band members took time off to focus on their lives (Michelle Stodart had a baby girl) and put together a studio of their own while learning more about the recording process. Romeo Stodart kept writing songs and by the time things were ready for the next album, there were 30 for the taking. Michele and Romeo worked on the lyrics of some of them before the other brother/sister team was called into the studio, along with Robert Kirby (who helped with string arrangements before he passed away in October 2009). The expanded sound also includes horns and electronic elements, challenging the band to recreate this lush studio sound when it plays live in Australia and at England’s Glastonbury Festival this summer.
“The Pulse” leads off the new album, The Runaway, with quiet contemplation of classically soulful Magic Numbers lyrics, imploring “What is it to love?” and “What is it to feel?” With strings buoying the recognizable male and female harmonies, the song explodes into a wider music universe for the band.
“Why Did You Call?” bursts open with unabashed embrace of a ‘70s smooth groove and “Throwing My Heart Away” ventures into a jazzy vibe. Even “The Song That No One Knows” looks backwards a few decades with the soaring strings and rambling guitar parts. Those looking for an update on the happy little tune “Love Me Like You” or the simple infectious funk of “Love’s a Game” will enjoy the simpler songwriting of “A Start with No Ending”. The lyrics again deal with the game of love, always a source for endless inspiration: “I’m just a boy pretending / You’re just a girl pretending / We’re just a start with no ending.”
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