[31 October 2011]
Magic is like a mix tape of dark folk and gloomy icons. There’s nothing original about Sean Rowe, as he plunders the songbooks of his favorite artists and imitates them to the best of his ability. This isn’t a terrible album, but it is annoying, and would be much more potent if his influences weren’t so apparent. “Wrong Side of the Bed” is Nick Cave vs. Tom Waits. “Time to Think” is Lambchop vs. Leonard Cohen. “Surprise” is Jeff Buckley vs. Bruce Springsteen. You get the picture. The pool of singer-songwriters is ever-expanding. In order to set yourself apart, you have to find your own, unique, original voice. Rowe obviously hasn’t, and has a long way to go.