Magic Man Before the Waves
  • THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014

  • Posted by: Emily Geiger

Magic Man originally formed in 2010 as a two-piece, featuring Alex Caplow on vocals and Sam Vanderhoop Lee on guitar and keyboards. After putting out the album Real Life Color, the band added three more members, and with the physical growth, the band's sound grew as well as it developed from a laptop-based project to a full rock band. And after filling out their sound with the help of Justine Bowe on keyboards, Daniel Radin on bass and Joey Sulkowski on drums, Magic Man is ready to lighten up to black skinny jean, leather jacket wearing indie rock world with their crisp vocals, prominent keyboards and dance friendly rhythms with their first full length album Before the Waves.

With this album, Magic Man makes it clear that they want to take you on a journey. And although it sounds cliche, this journey is not about telling stories from different states and cities, but more about urging listeners to be wary of stagnation. Underneath the upbeat pop rock and the array of lovestruck lyrics, lead singer Caplow communicates a youthful fear of not developing and growing. We start down south with opening track "Texas," when Caplow tells us he is "born in the south, at home in the north," and this opening idea of not belonging at home is the catalyst that sets up the rest of the album.

Caplow then invites us to wander "out into a sea of streetlights" with him in "Tonight," and tells us that we could "cut and run and leave this all behind" in "Catherine," and with references to fading photographs in multiple songs, Before the Waves creates this sense of urgency for vibrancy and adventure that you can't help but want for yourself. And while the Boston-based band takes you along to "Paris" and "Chicagoland" as they explain their uneasiness and discomfort, they also intersperse primly executed pop songs that replace anxiety for love, while still managing to remind you of the need for mobility.

So it's up to you if you allow Magic Man to take you along on their adventures, or if you just want to stay back to soak up the upbeat music — either listen is relatable and comforting. You just have to ask yourself if you want a road trip worthy soundtrack to escape reality or if you are willing to join the resistance to quiescence that Before the Waves invites you to take part in.

You can get your copy of Before the Waves now on iTunes, and you can watch the video for "Paris" below. Also, be sure to be on the lookout for our session with Magic Man, which will be up on the site in a few weeks.

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