30 Sep 2023

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Magic Factory - Album Review: Deliver The Goods

28 Jun 2023 // A review by Jel Legg

June 23rd 2023 saw the release of the sophomore album by Tamaki Makaurau's own Magic Factory entitled Deliver The Goods. Seven words into the press release I’m reaching for a dictionary to find out what ‘sophomore’ means – the first result is from the Greek meaning ‘wise fools’. I settle on the lesser definition denoting a second recording since Deliver The Goods is their second album following Working With Gold released in 2017. I’m getting a strong impression that this band of eight troubadours has a great sense of humour, so perhaps ‘sophomore’ was chosen for a reason!

This ‘follow-up-album’ has been five years in the making – they say they ‘just hate to rush’ but there ought be an award for managing a recording of eight, not four, not five, but eight band members, all from a raft of other local bands Raw Nerves, Vietnam War, Bloodbags, Hang Loose, Cindy, The Drab Doo Riffs and The Sneaks. They go on to state "Deliver The Goods offers up exactly what the band is famous for, unashamedly fast and loose 60s/70's country rock n' roll". Dropping the needle on the first song Butterfly Nets it’s safe to say ten seconds in they got that part right and I’m buckled-up and along for the ride.

I like music to grab me, crack open a beer, put a smile on my dial and get the party started without any messing around. This is exactly what Butterfly Nets does … in bucket loads. A fat warm bass playing a simple hypnotic riff, warm drums with a beautiful sounding bass drum – you can hear the skin shake – then bosh – in comes an utterly sublime warm guitar riff expertly played. The awesome vocals fire up "You show me compassion, I wish you’d show me some action" – to be honest I’m not really hearing much detail after this, I’m gone. I’m head first in. It’s Saturday night and this party is on! Incidentally, this was released as a single in October 2017 so the album has been a long time cooking!

There is something incredible washing over me though and that’s the weird sensation that the party I’m at is somewhere in Ealing, London circa 1974. Someone has just put this album on a beautiful old stereo with fancy tower speakers, and flung open the French doors to let in the summer evening breeze to clear the thick smoke. If Mick Jagger were to walk past I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

The second track Too Much Of Me keeps the party going – I’m hearing a Hammond Organ sliding effortlessly under pure rock and roll which cements the time-shift. By Catfish, the third cut (and a single released in May 2023), I’ve got Marc Bolan hanging in the kitchen listening and smiling with me. “Magic Factory” I say. “Cool name for a band”, he replies being even more cool …

What we have here is an album played, recorded, produced, mixed, mastered and sounding like its 50 years old but instead you have new, original, awesome songs. I have no idea how these guys have managed it but it is really hard to make an album sound this warm, smooth and of another time unless you have access to very expensive analogue gear, or wizards who know how to tame digital plugins. It’s quite incredible and a heck of an achievement.

Lords of Mercy takes the energy levels down – probably wise to take a breather, nip outside for some of that summer air. I’m hearing the Country vibe coming through here – you feel the band are taking a wee well-earned rest too.

Sorry For Your Loss follows and pulls us back in with a mid-tempo number which is classic mid-70’s rock. This is T-Rex territory and Magic Factory do it so very, very well. It’s intimate and warm as toast. So warm the butter melts faster than you can spread it. Lyrically it has a soft, caring edge, offering to take someone out to town to get over a loss. I’m always wary of over analysing song lyrics because we can take what we wish from them – often something different from what the writer intended!

Things then take a completely different turn – a chilled semi-acoustic number Warm And Fine with acoustic guitars and a chicken. Yep that’s right – there is a chicken in there briefly. Love it. This is sitting with your friends on a large rug with bean-bags as the wee hours wrap around you in a haze of smoke singing along and jamming. It’s more structured than that, but it feels so wonderfully organic and inclusive, like everyone got to join in.

You’re back on your feet with cut seven and the title track Deliver The Goods. This is the next day after the party and someone has decided it’s going to last the whole weekend. Its pure gold – as though these guys have vacuumed up the best of the 1970’s, filtered it and made it their own. Every trick, everything that defines rock ’n’ roll is squeezed in the grooves for this number.

There are five more fantastic cuts on this album all of which belong perfectly. Closed Book follows a well-covered twelve bar format with some wonderfully creative twists and turns. Give Me A Hand introduces a slightly funky groove that slides back to the late sixties, has an awesome downbeat and echoes of Lou Reed. The Man Won’t Shake My Hand rocks-out with the best of the genre – I’m hearing a bit of Welsh band Budgie here (you might have to Google them). Free Spirit has a very awesome full sound and Let It Flow has a touch of the psychedelic that wraps up the album perfectly. A quick listen to earlier material and it’s clear these guys have a well-established sound – if you love earlier releases you’ll be right at home with this one.

By my reckoning the album has a run time of forty minutes which will sit perfectly on vinyl without losing quality. No single song defines this album – as you would expect from eight musicians coming together there is a lot of input – though they themselves cite the Steve Millar Band as a big one for this release. I can’t point to one stand-out track because they all stand out for me – there are different songs for different moments in a party and some for getting over the party the next day. Then there’s driving … plenty of driving songs here! I could write about comparisons ad infinitum such is the rich history of music this album taps into, but in the end this is genuinely original music delivered uniquely and beautifully. This album is what record players are made for. And the bonus is you don’t need a time machine to fully immerse yourself – you can see them live in the here and now.

A truly stunning record five years in the making, or baking if prefer your 'warm sound' analogy. Quite simply a must have in any record collection. Roll on the next album – hopefully before 2028!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Magic Factory

Tamaki Makaurau party rockers Magic Factory are an 8-piece boogie sensation featuring members of Raw Nerves, Vietnam War, Bloodbags, Hang Loose, Cindy, The Drab Doo Riffs and The Sneaks.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Magic Factory


Deliver The Goods
Year: 2023
Type: Album

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