Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Magazine Gap, an independent outfit from London that boasts a hefty resume of both critical acclaim and fan praise. The band cites their unique sound as an eclectic mixture of pop, soul, funk, and rock, and their latest studio endeavor, a single entitled ‘In Two Minds,’ further explores that sonic territory. The tune is due out January 27; is it worth including in your indie music collection? Let’s delve into it and find out.
‘In Two Minds’ was written by James Keen, the guitarist and lead vocalist for Magazine Gap. In my first run-through of ‘In Two Minds,’ two notable elements of the sound were immediately compelling to me: Keen’s strong songwriting and vocal delivery. He has a fantastic voice, one that exudes passionate emotion, akin to an excellent soul singer. The single struts a beautifully elegant line between rock and soul, and that’s largely due to Keen’s work on the track. For this tune, Keen's bandmates collaborated on the music composition as well.
A poor band or production can destroy a superb frontman’s efforts, though, and fortunately, that doesn’t happen here. ‘In Two Minds’ is a stunning composition, one that focuses largely on brevity. The soft brass and string sections are perfectly soft in the backdrop of the track. Pianist Alex Ho offers a lovely performance, and drummer Brian McCook keeps perfect time with Ho and Keen. There’s a special music chemistry at play in Magazine Gap, and it’s noticeable.
To add a cherry on top of the cake, the music video that Magazine Gap has already released for the single, viewable above, is one of the best videos I’ve seen from an independent act in months. It’s professionally shot, and light-years beyond what comes across my desk on a daily basis.
Thus, Magazine Gap is the complete package: great music and video production, strong songwriting and performances, and a sound that is indeed unique unto itself. ‘In Two Minds’ is worth pre-ordering or downloading as soon as it hits digital services on January 27. It’s absolutely terrific.